James Salzer

James Salzer has covered state government and politics in Georgia since 1990.

Latest from James Salzer

Georgia pension systems have good year as stock holdings rise
 Gov. Nathan Deal asked lawmakers last week to pump more than $360 million extra into teacher pensions to strengthen the fund, but the state’s two biggest retirement systems actually had a pretty good year because of the strong stock market, according to new reports. The Teacher Retirement System and the Employees’ Retirement System...

Posted: a day ago

Gov. Nathan Deal asked lawmakers last week to pump more than $360 million extra into teacher pensions to strengthen the fund, but the state’s two biggest retirement systems actually had a pretty good year because of the strong stock market, according to new reports. The Teacher Retirement System and the Employees’ Retirement System...
Georgia’s recent trims to state workforce spared University System
 Gov. Nathan Deal calls it an example of state government doing more with less. Deal told House and Senate budget writers this week that the number of state employees dropped from 70,716 in fiscal 2008, just as the Great Recession began hammering government finances, to 58,642 in 2017. But those figures don’t include the state&rsquo...

Posted: a day ago

Gov. Nathan Deal calls it an example of state government doing more with less. Deal told House and Senate budget writers this week that the number of state employees dropped from 70,716 in fiscal 2008, just as the Great Recession began hammering government finances, to 58,642 in 2017. But those figures don’t include the state&rsquo...
Deal, fiscal analyst see strong Georgia economy ahead
 Gov. Nathan Deal and the state’s chief fiscal analyst painted an optimistic picture of Georgia’s economy for legislative leaders Tuesday, although the impact of new federal tax changes remain unclear. Ken Heaghney, Georgia’s fiscal economist, told members of the House and Senate budget committees that the state is projecting...

Posted: 2 days ago

Gov. Nathan Deal and the state’s chief fiscal analyst painted an optimistic picture of Georgia’s economy for legislative leaders Tuesday, although the impact of new federal tax changes remain unclear. Ken Heaghney, Georgia’s fiscal economist, told members of the House and Senate budget committees that the state is projecting...
Georgia governor’s budget reflects uncertainties about federal funds
 Gov. Nathan Deal proposed a $26 billion spending plan Thursday that is light on pay raises and new initiatives and heavy on construction projects. But it might change — in a big way — by late March. That’s because Deal and lawmakers have a lot of unanswered questions, thanks in part to Congress. Because of the December tax...

Posted: 7 days ago

Gov. Nathan Deal proposed a $26 billion spending plan Thursday that is light on pay raises and new initiatives and heavy on construction projects. But it might change — in a big way — by late March. That’s because Deal and lawmakers have a lot of unanswered questions, thanks in part to Congress. Because of the December tax...
Audit: Georgia insurance office went overboard on raises, hiring
 While 200,000 teachers and state workers were mostly getting minuscule raises, the Georgia Office of Insurance Commissioner was doling out 11 percent salary hikes to staffers and hiring new employees in a spending spree that left the agency with a giant budget hole, a new audit says. The audit released Wednesday was requested by the House...

Posted: 8 days ago

While 200,000 teachers and state workers were mostly getting minuscule raises, the Georgia Office of Insurance Commissioner was doling out 11 percent salary hikes to staffers and hiring new employees in a spending spree that left the agency with a giant budget hole, a new audit says. The audit released Wednesday was requested by the House...
Don’t catfish this, it’s for the chil’rens: A legislative glossary
 Here’s what Georgia lawmakers mean when they say… AAA Bond Rating: It is the best rating governments can get on money it borrows , which means low interest rates. Frequently mentioned in budget discussions, it is essentially code language for, “You’re in good hands, vote for this thing.” A dinner, a lunch: A...

Posted: 10 days ago

Here’s what Georgia lawmakers mean when they say… AAA Bond Rating: It is the best rating governments can get on money it borrows , which means low interest rates. Frequently mentioned in budget discussions, it is essentially code language for, “You’re in good hands, vote for this thing.” A dinner, a lunch: A...
Rising tax take in Georgia a sign of a strong December economy
 Tax collections soared in Georgia in December, marking a second strong month for the economy after a slow start to the fiscal year. Collections improved 10 percent in December over the same month in 2016. Overall for the fiscal year, which began July 1, collections are up 4.1 percent, or about the same as they were last year during the first...

Posted: 13 days ago

Tax collections soared in Georgia in December, marking a second strong month for the economy after a slow start to the fiscal year. Collections improved 10 percent in December over the same month in 2016. Overall for the fiscal year, which began July 1, collections are up 4.1 percent, or about the same as they were last year during the first...
Georgia program for injured workers regularly in the red
 The Georgia workers’ compensation program that covers about 122,000 state workers and University System employees has run a deficit in seven of the past 10 years, a new audit says. Reserves of $31 million in 2008 were depleted, and now the program will have to ask the General Assembly to come up with extra money during the 2018 legislative...

Posted: 13 days ago

The Georgia workers’ compensation program that covers about 122,000 state workers and University System employees has run a deficit in seven of the past 10 years, a new audit says. Reserves of $31 million in 2008 were depleted, and now the program will have to ask the General Assembly to come up with extra money during the 2018 legislative...
Georgians have 26 billion reasons to watch budget this year
 At the top of lawmakers’ to-do list every General Assembly session — like the one starting Monday — is deciding how they will spend the billions of dollars Georgians have paid into the state treasury each year. In other words, it’s time to start paying attention. Why? Because the state budget — which will be...

Posted: 14 days ago

At the top of lawmakers’ to-do list every General Assembly session — like the one starting Monday — is deciding how they will spend the billions of dollars Georgians have paid into the state treasury each year. In other words, it’s time to start paying attention. Why? Because the state budget — which will be...
Top players in the Georgia Legislature
 GOVERNOR Nathan Deal: The governor enters his final session and will set the agenda again in 2018, although his influence may be a little diminished by his lame-duck status. However, he still has the power to veto legislation and spending, and dole out jobs to employment-seeking lawmakers. And he sets the revenue estimate, which determines...

Posted: 14 days ago

GOVERNOR Nathan Deal: The governor enters his final session and will set the agenda again in 2018, although his influence may be a little diminished by his lame-duck status. However, he still has the power to veto legislation and spending, and dole out jobs to employment-seeking lawmakers. And he sets the revenue estimate, which determines...
Ralston: Georgia lawmakers pay raise proposal an easy political target
 Some Georgia lawmakers have slammed a recent recommendation that the pay of members of the General Assembly jump 70 percent in 2019, but House Speaker David Ralston isn’t one of them. He told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution what many state lawmakers have long said: that serving in the House and Senate has become a full-time job, despite...

12:30 AM Monday, Dec. 18, 2017

Some Georgia lawmakers have slammed a recent recommendation that the pay of members of the General Assembly jump 70 percent in 2019, but House Speaker David Ralston isn’t one of them. He told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution what many state lawmakers have long said: that serving in the House and Senate has become a full-time job, despite...