Gov. Nathan Deal delivers the State of the State address (Courtesy Fox 5)

Gov. Nathan Deal said keeping government small, conservative spending and a strong business climate have made “Georgia better today than it was this time last year.” Those remarks came at this morning’s State of the State address at the Capitol

Deal said revenue growth of 3.4 percent, ranking eighth as the most populated state in the nation and Mercedes-Benz and Porsche moving their headquarters here were further evidence that Georgia is “a leader in job creation.” He also said home prices were up, construction was up and the unemployment rate was falling back into line.

Some of the priorities Deal highlighted in his address included education, transportation and support for medical marijuana. He said there were 19,000 high school drop outs in the last school year alone and that lawmakers must make K-12 education more accessible and effective. Deal said he would establish an education reform commission to expand education options, retain teachers and modernize funding. He said recommendations would be on his desk by Aug. 1.

The governor did not offer a recommendation on how to fund critical transportation needs, but said a $1 billion funding gap for projects would damage the state’s economy.

Deal also said he wants to create a committee on the best way to bring medical marijuana to the state, but reiterated his opposition to recreational use.

The governor usually releases his budget proposal on the day of the State of the State, but has delayed that until Friday.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley is Editor of Atlanta Intown. He can be reached at collin@atlantaintownpaper.com.