Why some Abrams proposals look a lot like Kemp’s
July 5, 2022
In today’s edition of Swing State Georgia:
Abrams takes heat for police pay raise plan.
Georgia lawmakers wait on competitiveness bill in Congress.
Echoes of Jan. 6 in one campaign for Congress.
You could say it’s the political version of “anything you can do, I can do better.”
Three of Stacey Abrams’ key policy proposals amount to efforts to one-up Gov. Brian Kemp: A plan to raise teacher pay by at least $11,000, a proposal to hike salaries of some law enforcement officers by more than $10,000, and plans to extend a gas tax break through the end of the year.
Those are three of Kemp’s key policy accomplishments for the year already, but with significantly more funding proposed for all three.
The Democrat said her plans exemplify a more ambitious approach toward the role of government at a time when high inflation and gas prices are dominating the minds of voters.
“The question is not ‘Do we have the resources?’” Abrams said on a recent conference call with reporters. “The question is ‘What are we going to do with the resources we have?’”
Of course, the proposals don’t come cheap – and there are growing questions about how she would pay for the expenditures with a potential recession looming, along with separate promises to expand Medicaid and other programs.
The AJC’s James Salzer pegs the price tag so far for Abrams’ proposals at about $800 million in new spending for a roughly $30 billion state budget, which she’s said she’ll achieve without tax hikes.
Gov. Brian Kemp fought tooth-and-nail with fellow Republicans to get the first installment of his teacher pay raise passed in 2019, before record-setting state budgets juiced by an infusion of stimulus dollars helped boost the state coffers.
So far, the governor has shrugged off Abrams’ policies as election-year gimmicks and focused on his record – instead of countering with a long list of second-term ideas of his own. Ahead in most polls, Kemp has been in no rush to outline his reelection platform.
Kemp’s campaign sees parallels between the platforms of Abrams and David Perdue, who tried to outflank the governor by calling to eliminate the state income tax and pushed for other ways to turn the tables on the incumbent.
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On the topic of Stacey Abrams’ plans, the Georgia Democrat gave an interview to The Root to respond to criticism from Black criminal justice advocates of her plan to hike the pay of Georgia State Patrol troopers, corrections officers and other officials.