Georgia State Senator Blake Tillery gave a positive state update to Glennville Rotary Club members at their August 3, 2022, meeting.
"We are in good shape in Georgia, even with a 19 percent inflation affecting our DOT (Department of Transportation) contracts, when it comes to asphalt, labor, and other materials. The influx of federal dollars the past 24 months and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act monies for wages have been a big boost for our state finances," Tillery said. "For every dollar we lost in inflation, the government printed $19 for it. You probably won't see our labor rates going back down, and we realize that this is stressing small businesses.”
"Sales tax is booming for the cities, counties, and the state, which helps in your LOST (Local Option Sale Tax) distributions and a rollback on property taxes," Tillery stated. "We have seen a lot of inflation in housing prices, and this is affecting values and property taxes for county budgets. We probably won't see these rising housing prices continue, however. The prediction is that we will see an up to 20 percent slide in the stock market. Also, inflation and the interest rate hikes by the feds will cause a slow down in the housing market.
"One of our biggest needs today, the number one job in Georgia (and America) is the need for truck drivers. Nursing is another shortage, and we put $13 million in the budget for beds in mental hospitals, and it was quickly eaten up by inflation. When a nurse can go from $50,000 in a hospital to $85,000 as a travel nurse, that is adding to our shortage of nurses in hospitals, clinics, and doctors’ offices. We added $5 million in the budget tailored to nursing schools to further address this shortage," he added.
The good news he shared is that Georgia has $6 billion in surplus funds for the state and is in the best financial condition in Georgia's history, even considering the rising gas prices and tires for the state troopers and the increased costs for nurses. Tillery said he could see that this forecast may be changing by July of 2023, however.
In the local area, he pointed out that the new electrical vehicle (EV) plant to be built in Bryan County will be a major economic boost for these area counties, but water and housing may be concerns, considering the 8000 jobs this new industry will bring.
He closed his comments by looking ahead to the type jobs that will be ahead of us by 2030, with the increased use of electrical vehicles and perhaps more folks in metropolitan areas not even having vehicles, utilizing vehicle services for transportation to jobs and delivery of groceries and other items.
About Senator Blake Tillery
Georgia State Senator Blake Tillery, a 2010 graduate of the University of Georgia, is a resident of Vidalia and a practicing attorney in The Tillery Firm. He has served as Chairman of the Toombs County Commissioners and is a graduate of Leadership Georgia.
Tillery was elected to the Georgia Senate in 2016 and began serving in 2017; he was appointed to the Appropriations Committee where he was elected Vice Chairman. After Senator Jack Hill's death in 2020, Tillery was appointed as Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, a position that Hill had held.
Blake is married to the former Ashlee Nicole Sharer, a native of Wayne County. She is a doctor, with a specialization in obstetrics and gynecology; she practices at Meadows Memorial in Vidalia. Blake and Ashlee have a 15-month old son, John Mark Tillery.