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Cagle says Georgia's 'resilient' economy will bounce back
Lieutenant governor speaks at Eggs and Issues breakfast
Rep. James Mills answers a question at the annual Eggs and Issues breakfast Thursday morning at the Gainesville Civic Center. Left, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, who is exploring a run for governor, looks on. - photo by SARA GUEVARA

Story: Legislative delegation hears requests from local governments, schools, hospital

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle said Thursday that he believes Georgia can rebound from the current recession in good shape.

"With all of the economy downturns and the climate we find ourselves in, Georgia is not exempt," Cagle said. "Georgia is very resilient, and we have worked through these difficult times in the past. And we will work through these difficult times now."

Cagle, a Republican from Chestnut Mountain, shared the stage with members of the Hall County legislative delegation during the annual Eggs and Issues breakfast sponsored by the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce.

During a question and answer session, Cagle said he had been given few details of Gov. Sonny Perdue’s plan to fund a number of new capital projects by issuing additional state bonds.

While Cagle said he was interested in seeking ways to help first-time homeowners with their down payments as a means of stimulating the stagnant housing market, he gave few other details.

Cagle made no mention of his planned bid for governor in 2010, but R.K. Whitehead, chairman of the chamber, inadvertently called Cagle "governor" when asking Cagle a question. The misstep drew applause from the lieutenant governor’s hometown crowd.

State Reps. James Mills, Carl Rogers and Tommy Benton were on the program, along with state Sen. Lee Hawkins. State Rep. Doug Collins is on active duty in Iraq but e-mailed a greeting. Collins is due back in the U.S. in January.

Across the board, the delegation and Cagle agreed that the state budget would be the top issue of the 2010 session, which begins in January.

Mills, a Chestnut Mountain Republican, asked the group for their input on early voting, which was used in this year’s election. Mills has indicated that he does not care for the extended voting time. Many GOP leaders believe it was early voting that helped Democrat Jim Martin reach a runoff with U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga.

Benton, a Jefferson Republican, said he is concerned about the funding for education. A retired teacher, Benton said the ideal funding formula is 80 percent from the state and 20 percent local. He said in his home county, the cost of education is almost evenly split between state and local tax money.