That designation came from the Atlanta-based Site Selection magazine. Georgia officials reportedly spent more than $100,000 of taxpayer money on marketing with the publication and its sister company, Georgia Corporation for Economic Development.
The Jason Carter for Governor campaign finds the election year accolade more than a little suspicious.
“It’s outrageous (Gov. Deal) used taxpayer dollars to get that rating,” it said in a statement. “Maybe the 215 subscribers of Site Selection magazine will think the governor is doing a good job, but families who are feeling real pay cuts and sending their kids to failing schools know better.”
If the governor wants this questionable ranking to be the centerpiece of his re-election campaign, then he’ll have to own some other numbers he probably won’t be featuring in any commercials.
For starters, Georgia is next to last in per capita income. As the rest of the country emerges from the devastating Bush recession, our incomes lag way behind.
In contrast, three of the top five states with the highest per capita income are led by Democratic governors and legislatures. Maryland is first, Connecticut fourth and Massachusetts fifth.
In fact, eight of the top 10 per capita income states are run by Democrats.
According to the Census Bureau, Georgia’s poverty rate is the third highest in the country, with nearly two million poor. Twenty percent of the state’s population lives in poverty under Gov. Deal.
In 2013, Georgia shot from 15th to sixth on the list of states most dependent on food stamps.
Nearly 60 percent of Georgia food stamp recipients are employed in low-paying jobs. Thus, a lot of the “job creators” Deal is always talking about are subsidized by the state’s taxpayers.
Georgia’s unemployment rate is the 39th highest in America and we’re 45th on the list of states graduating high school seniors.
When you always align yourself with big money interests, as Deal has done, average Georgians pay a steep price, which the state’s dismal income, poverty and education numbers clearly reflect.
That’s because the governor’s economic policies aren’t intended to help middle class or poor Georgians. Rather, they’re engineered by and for his wealthy and influential benefactors, Deal’s “competitive task force.”
There are no advocates for middle class or poor Georgians among this wealthy crowd of Deal campaign contributors who make their wishes known when they meet with the governor in out of the way places.
Poverty and depressed middle class incomes are just fine by them. And in lieu of state income or corporate taxes, governor, let’s have the middle class and poor pay a 14.5 percent sales tax.
There are some other rankings Deal would love to forget.
The non-partisan watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington placed Deal among the 15 most corrupt members of Congress in 2009.
Deal bolted the House of Representatives just before the Office of Congressional Ethics issued a scathing 138-page report detailing how he allegedly pressured Georgia officials to continue a no-bid program that it said lined his wallet.
In 2013, Deal made CREW’s list of worst governors after paying “his politically inexperienced daughter-in-law” $40,000 to work on his 2010 campaign, and then paying her company nearly $250,000 between January 2011 and March 2013.
“The chairman of Georgia’s State Ethics Commission, appointed by Gov. Deal, appears to have obstructed ethics investigations into payments made by the Deal campaign,” adds CREW.
That alleged meddling attracted the FBI’s attention.
Nathan Deal is the best the GOP can do? On May 20, Republicans have two alternatives, Dr. John D. Barge, Georgia’s superintendent of schools and Dalton Mayor and tea partier David Pennington.
Either could do no worse than Deal.
Kevin Foley is an author, writer and public relations executive who lives in Kennesaw.