Lower taxes and more school funding were among the topics Rep. Ron Stephens touched on Monday at the Richmond Hill-Bryan County Chamber of Commerce breakfast.
The gathering was held as Georgia Cities Week began and featured the mayors of Richmond Hill and Pembroke, along with several other local elected officials.
Stephens was introduced by Congressman Buddy Carter, a former mayor of Pooler.
“You’ve got the state legislators in Atlanta and we’re in Washington, D.C., but you can’t get any closer to the people than city government,” Carter said. “It’s the nuts and bolts of how things work.”
Stephens said two main accomplishments from the General Assembly this year was a reduction in the state tax rate and an increase in money for public schools.
Stephens said the state income tax rate will drop from 6 percent to 5.75 percent next year, with a chance to be lowered again to 5.5 percent in 2020.
“We have never had a cut in the income tax rate for as long as Georgia had had one,” he said.
School funding will also go up next year by some $200 million, including $167 million going directly to K-12 education.
“Georgia has been rated the No. 1 state in the country for doing business for five years in a row,” Stephens said. “Things like tax cuts and better schools can only strengthen that.”
Carter and Stephens also both pointed to infrastructure, as two major projects coming up in Bryan County involve federal and state dollars. Those, of course, are the new I-95 interchange at Belfast Keller Road and the widening of Highway 144.
Carter and Stephens both mentioned Pooler several times as the type of growth that is impending for South Bryan County.