Governor promises special session, if Amazon warrants it

Georgia Republican Gov. Nathan Deal said Wednesday he will call state lawmakers back after their session ends, if it turns out they need to do something to woo Amazon.

Republican Gov. Nathan Deal said Wednesday that he'll call state lawmakers for a special session, if they need to pass legislation to woo Amazon. Credit: Maggie Lee

Republican Gov. Nathan Deal said Wednesday that he’ll call state lawmakers for a special session, if they need to pass legislation to woo Amazon. Credit: Maggie Lee

That was one of his messages at the Georgia Chamber of Commerce Eggs and Issues breakfast. He counseled lawmakers not to do anything until they see if the Peach State makes the short list as a site for Amazon’s second headquarters.

“We don’t know what their needs are going to be,” Deal told reporters after the breakfast, elaborating on points he made during his speech. “And I think it would be premature for us to attempt to guess that. If we shoot too low, then we could be in trouble there and have to call a special session to correct what we might have done during the regular session.”

The legislative session usually ends in March or April, and there’s no indication when Amazon might start talking about a short list.

But some lawmakers might not relish a trip back to Atlanta over the summer or fall, if it turns out very long. It’s an election year for all state House and Senate seats, so any incumbent campaigning for those seats — or a higher office — would need to pause the politicking for a special session under the Gold Dome. Deal himself is term-limited and this is his last regular legislative session.

Georgia law allows the state to keep its Amazon pitch secret. But the deal Georgia offers is likely to at least include some kind of preferential tax treatment, for example.  And the Gulch may be a site Georgia has pitched. Deal said he himself doesn’t know what the specifics of Georgia’s offer are.

Deal said Georgia is already doing the sorts of things that would make it attractive to Amazon and advised that lawmakers build on such policies.

In front of an audience of about 2,500 people at the Georgia World Congress Center, Deal said that over the next few months, the state has opportunities to strengthen its education system, improve the health of children and invest in transportation infrastructure.

“We cannot allow those opportunities to pass us by while we wait on another,” he said.

More details on Deal’s legislative ideas are likely to come Thursday, during his annual State of the State address.

 

Maggie Lee is a freelance reporter who's been covering Georgia and metro Atlanta government and politics since 2008.

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