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Deal's goal: Make Georgia No. 1 for business
Governor unveils part of legislative agenda at Eggs & Issues breakfast
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Gov. Nathan Deal is seeking to trim taxes on businesses to help Georgia draw the eye of industries.

Speaking at the annual Georgia Chamber "Eggs and Issues" breakfast, Deal unveiled a proposal Tuesday that he said will help him achieve a goal of making Georgia "the No. 1 state to do business."

Among the proposals is a charge for lawmakers to restructure Georgia's job tax credit programs and eliminate other taxes on businesses.

Aside from a much talked about proposal to eliminate a sales tax on energy used in manufacturing, Deal also wants lawmakers to exempt sales taxes on construction materials used in projects "of regional significance."

Deal's proposals come one day after Georgia's lawmakers convened at the state Capitol for this year's legislative session.

They come at the recommendation of business and government leaders who served on a task force Deal created last year focused on making Georgia more attractive to industry.

He is expected to make other direct requests of the legislature at his State of the State address at 7 p.m.

Deal seems to have the support of legislative leaders on efforts to reform Georgia's tax code.

House Speaker David Ralston told members of the Georgia Chamber on Tuesday that the issue was a matter of making Georgia more competitive in the game of attracting job creators.

But the Speaker said he wants any changes to be "comprehensive."

"It all kind of has to fit together," Ralston said.

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, too, said he'd like to see lawmakers reform the tax code "in a responsible way."

Aside from tax incentives, Deal and Cagle said an adequate water supply and transportation infrastructure are critical to sustaining industry in Georgia.

Lawmakers are banking on the passage of a regional sales tax referendum that will generate revenue to pay for major transportation improvements across the state. While Cagle said he would "remain optimistic" about the outcome of the vote and Deal encouraged voters to support the their respective referendums.

But Ralston, who helped pass the legislation that created the regional T-SPLOST, said lawmakers have already done their part. The vote, he said, is now in the people's hands.

"I don't know that they need to hear from a bunch of politicians about what we think about it anymore," said Ralston.

Ralston said he is not sure how Georgia will approach the drawing board for new plans on transportation or how long such a plan might take to conceive.

"Truthfully, there is no plan B."