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Barnes unveils plan for jobs, economy
Deal campaign says Democrats proposals will raise taxes
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Democratic gubernatorial nominee Roy Barnes announced his plan for jobs and economic growth Thursday in Atlanta.

The former governor outlined a number of initiatives in his 17-page "Jobs Plan to Make Georgia Work" to make Georgia a business-friendly environment.

He proposes a $25 million biomedical research park, similar to the Research Triangle Park in North Carolina, to back private developers who invest in dedicated research facilities.

He also called for eliminating all Georgia capital gains taxes for two years for people who invest their gains in community banks, businesses and properties in the state and $300 million in new tax breaks for businesses that create jobs in Georgia.

"There is nothing wrong with an incentive that is time-limited and directly affecting the creation of jobs," Barnes said.

Barnes' Republican counterpart, Nathan Deal, also has created a detailed plan to help boost the state's economy.

Both candidates are responding to what voters have indicated is issue No. 1 in the Nov. 2 election.

"Far and away the primary concern of voters is jobs and the economy," University of Georgia Political Science Professor Charles Bullock said. "It makes perfect sense that you would want to have something you could point to when asked."

With unemployment rates throughout the state at or near 10 percent, voters are looking at candidates in the gubernatorial race for help.

Bullock said few voters are likely to actually read the plans, however.

"Voters are going to respond to some extent simply based on party and they're going to assume that the candidate they already prefer is going to do something about bringing in jobs," Bullock said.

Ross Alexander, a professor of political science at North Georgia College & State University in Dahlonega, said candidates tend to offer big picture ideas when it comes to topics like economic development.

"In most cases, the details are pretty sketchy," Alexander said. "No one is going to argue against job growth and job creation."

Tim Evans, vice president of economic development at the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce, said after looking over Barnes' job plan, he was left with many questions.

"There's not a whole lot of substance here at this point," Evans said.

Evans hopes the next governor will help attract the type of businesses Hall County is looking for.

"We have a very focused effort when it comes to life sciences and Gainesville-Hall County has built a concentration of life science companies and we want to build on that," Evans said.

Deal campaign spokesman Brian Robinson said the Barnes plan is too costly.

"Anybody who believes Roy Barnes is going to cut taxes should say hello to Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny for me," Robinson said. "New spending equals new taxes, and new taxes are going to kill jobs."

Jeremy Redmond of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, a member of the Georgia Newspaper Partnership, contributed to this story.


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