He did it again.
Gov. Nathan Deal and his buddies have been jumping for joy for the past 24 hours because CNBC named Georgia the “No. 1 state for business.”
The top guy at the state Department of Economic Development was so excited to finally win an economic honor fair-and-square, he told the newspaper, “And we didn’t buy this one, either.”
Not so fast.
There’s an even bigger problem with CNBC’s ranking than with Site Selection’s pay-for-play honor that cost taxpayers $134,000.
It turns out that CNBC relied on Gov. Deal’s donors and political allies for its data.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution published these political connections this morning but Nathan Deal doesn’t want to talk about it — at all.
It turns out that CNBC used data from two politically aligned sources to create the rankings: the National Association of Manufacturers and the Council on Competitiveness.
And both of these groups have direct ties to Nathan Deal.
The chairman of the National Association of Manufacturers is also the CEO of Caterpillar, Inc., a corporation that received a $44 million tax break from Gov. Deal’s administration to open a new factory in Georgia.
And the chairman of the Council on Competitiveness is the CEO of John Deere, whose PAC has donated $10,100 to Nathan Deal’s campaign and at least $140,650 to Georgia Republicans since 2011.
So, both of these groups had a vested interest in seeing Gov. Deal and Georgia do well in the rankings.
Thanks to this politically polluted data, Georgia’s ranking for transportation infrastructure soared from No. 18 last year to No. 1 this year with no significant improvements.
But Gov. Deal has an even bigger problem than his desperate attempt to find someone — anyone — to say that Georgia is a great place for corporations to do business.
Gov. Deal’s bigger problem is that he’s focused on the wrong ranking.
Even CNBC admits that Georgia is near the bottom of its rankings for education and quality of life.
Gov. Deal cares more about giving his donors and corporations multi-million dollar tax breaks than he does about fixing our schools, our hospitals and our communities.
And then there’s Gov. Deal’s biggest problem of all.
Whether he’s talking about his many ethics scandals or talking about Georgia’s economy, Gov. Deal just can’t tell the truth.