Quick update on Georgia budget, Savannah River deepening

Some new developments of note over the last couple of days.

Governor Nathan Deal’s comments in recent days, like those quoted in this piece in the Savannah Morning News, indicate that we will not see dramatic changes to the state tax code this year. That probably means no new taxes, such as one on groceries, and no dramatic tax cuts, like the proposed income tax reductions that I’ve discussed before.

But can Georgia just continue to cut services to close the yawning budget gap for next year of over $1 billion? That’s apparently what we’re going to do. I’m not hopeful about the results, which almost certainly will include cuts in education and health services.

[UPDATE: Just after I posted this, I ran across this post on Peach Pundit suggesting that some of the tax reform ideas might not be dead after all.]

In other news, Governor Deal and Senator Saxby Chambliss came to Savannah yesterday to promote the increasingly controversial project to deepen the Savannah harbor to accommodate the larger ships expected after the Panama Canal expansion is completed in 2014. The event should have been a photo-op in front of a huge ship that can only come up the Savannah River at high tide, but the ship was late leaving its previous port.

I’ve noted in my column and here on this blog that the political dimensions of all this are becoming sharper, as states up and down the East Coast lobby for federal money. Most of the quotes from Friday’s appearance by the two Republican leaders are upbeat and conciliatory, but Chambliss couldn’t help saying this: “If President Obama really wants to see job creation and the increase in exports he mentioned Tuesday night, we have the solution right here in the fastest growing port in the country.” That’s from a good piece in today’s Savannah Morning News.

So how’s that rhetoric likely to work out — the subtle implication that President Obama may not actually be interested in job creation?