GOV. DEAL’S SCANDALS
Gov. Deal is up to his eyes in scandals as he asks for your vote. Here are just a few:
Gainesville Salvage – When Nathan Deal was in Congress, the Congressional Ethics committee launched an investigation into his shady business practices. Congress determined that Deal had improperly used the power of his public office to secure business contracts from the state of Georgia for his private business, Gainesville Salvage. (Download the 152-page Congressional Report and Findings – PDF)
Copart, Inc. – Gov. Deal finally sold off Gainesville Salvage to bury one of his greatest political liabilities and to fix his personal finances — a move that made him a multi-millionaire overnight while governor. Public records show Deal’s taxpayer-funded staff worked on the personal business deal and also show the company that is responsible for Deal’s rags-to-riches story owes the state of Georgia nearly $74 million in back taxes and penalties. Gov. Deal says he’s not responsible for making Copart to pay up.
Unethical Campaign – When Deal decided to run for governor, he brought his unethical behavior with him. But when Stacey Kalberman, the state’s Ethics Commission Director, began to look into the ethics of Deal’s 2010 campaign, Deal cut her salary by a third and fired her deputy in retribution for doing her job. For that, Kalberman won a $700,000 judgment—paid for not by Deal himself, but by taxpayers. The total cost to Georgia taxpayers is $1.15 million. A federal grand jury has issued several subpoenas and continues to investigate.
Chip Rogers – Former State Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers became a national laughingstock when he accused the United Nations of using “mind-control techniques” to promote urbanism. To ease his friend out of office, Gov. Deal created a job at Georgia Public Broadcasting that paid $150,000 per year. But it gets worse. It was later revealed that Rogers didn’t even log much time at GPB because he also held a full-time job as a lobbyist on behalf of hotel owners. Taxpayers shelled out more than $150,000 for a job Rogers didn’t show up for— just to solve Nathan Deal’s political problems.
GOV. DEAL’S FAILURES
Gov. Deal brags that his biggest health care “accomplishment” is blocking Medicaid expansion. Although the federal government would pick up 100 percent of the cost for the first three years and 90 percent or more after that, Deal has fought tooth-and-nail to keep more than 600,000 uninsured Georgians from gaining coverage.
The Georgia NAACP has spoken out against the governor and his conservative supermajority, who they believe have “signed death warrants for thousands who will die needlessly every year.”
After Gov. Deal stubbornly refused to expand Medicaid, four hospitals in rural Georgia have shut their doors for good under his watch. It’s led to what GPB calls a “rural hospital crisis,” and it could very well get worse. Hometown Health, a trade association of rural hospitals in Georgia, estimates that as many as 15 more rural hospitals could close if Gov. Deal’s policies continue.
In Governor Deal’s own words: “We’re not doing very well with women.”
It’s no secret that the recession took a larger economic toll on women than men. In fact, women were significantly more likely than men to fall victim to long-term unemployment as a result of the recession. But in the midst of a hard-fought recovery, Gov. Deal’s economic policies have made a bad problem for women even worse.
For example, Gov. Deal’s inaction on raising the minimum wage has disproportionately affected female workers. Some key facts you should know:
Currently, the federal minimum wage is set at $7.25/hour, while Georgia’s state minimum wage is a mere $5.15/hour.
According to the National Women’s Law Center, “A woman working full time, year round at minimum wage will earn $14,500 annually – more than $4,000 below the poverty line for a mother with two children.”
Nearly two-thirds of all minimum wage workers are women.
In Georgia, a woman makes only 81 cents for every dollar a man makes. Raising the minimum wage would close the pay gap between men and women by 5%.
But nowhere is Gov. Deal’s lack of concern for women more evident than in his political appointment process. Despite the fact that 51% of Georgians are female, only about 30% of Gov. Deal’s appointments to key posts in his administration have been women—blocking many well-qualified women from serving their state in the highest offices.
Gov. Deal recently bragged in his State of the State address that he had increased funding for public education by over $500 million. What he conveniently left out of that speech was that he has underfunded K-12 schools by over $1 billion every single year he has been in office.
The timing is certainly suspicious. Gov. Deal faces a tough re-election battle this November against Sen. Jason Carter, who has branded himself as a champion of education.
But where has Gov. Deal’s concern for education been for the last three years?
By the state’s own measurements, Gov. Deal has failed to provide even basic funding for education as governor. In 1985, the General Assembly devised the Quality Basic Education (QBE) formula to look at each school’s enrollment numbers and determine how much funding our schools need each year to provide a basic level of education for its students.
But Deal has come up short by $1 billion every year since taking office. To make up for Deal’s cuts, local school boards have had to resort to drastic measures like furloughing teachers and raising property taxes on struggling families just to be able to survive.
In short, local school boards are taking the heat for Gov. Deal’s failures.
In 2011, mere months after he was elected, Gov. Deal announced he was giving “a gift to future generations of Georgia’s outstanding students”: he was about to slash the budget for the HOPE scholarship just as many low-income families needed help the most.
Since those cuts, the number of HOPE recipients has fallen from 256,000 students in 2010-11 to fewer than 160,000 students this year. In addition, while the scholarship used to cover the full cost of tuition and books, HOPE will now only cover about 60 percent of tuition and mandatory fees for the typical Georgia student.
In a time when we need to be investing in our students the most, Governor Deal has left thousands of Georgia’s students out in the cold to fend for themselves.
And it isn’t even for lack of money. Despite promises to allocate 35 percent of their revenue to education, the Georgia Lottery Corporation has never come close to allocating even 30 percent of revenues to education, and last year’s portion was just 25.5 percent. Yet somehow they can still find enough money to pay their executives six-figure bonuses every year on top of six-figure salaries.