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The Watson Weekly: Feb 8, 2024
Ben Watson
Sen. Ben Watson

Ben Watson

Ga. State Senator District 1

This week, your Georgia General Assembly was actively engaged in formulating the State’s two budgets.

The first is the mid-year reconciliation budget where we make corrections to the Fiscal Year 2023-2024 budget which began on July 1, 2023, and the FY 2024-2025 “bigger budget” which begins on July 1, 2024. But first, we were somberly reminded that world affairs have a direct impact on all of us.

I took time to join the nation in mourning the tragic loss of three Georgia-based Army reservists in Jordan.

Among them was Specialist Breonna Alexsondria Moffett, a selfless Georgian from Savannah, who succumbed to injuries in an unmanned drone attack on their housing units. As I expressed my deep sadness, the Georgia Senate reflected on the loss of these three Georgians.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the families of Specialist Breonna Alexsondria Moffett from Savannah, Sergeant William Jerome Rivers from Carrollton, and Specialist Kennedy Ladon Sanders from Waycross. There is no greater show of love for our country than laying down your life for it, and that is precisely what these three individuals did.

In this difficult time, I join in prayer and mourning with the families.

The Senate majority announced the top five issues we want to tackle on behalf of our great state. Tax relief remains a high priority for the majority, and for me, as well.

After delivering $2 billion in tax relief for state income taxpayers and homeowners, we are now accelerating the reduction of the state income tax. Additionally, Senate Republicans are prioritizing Senate Bill 349 to create a statewide floating homestead exemption much like we have in Chatham County with the Stephens-Day property tax law.

Also included as our top priorities are improving and reforming education. In order to provide more options and opportunities especially targeted to families who are trapped in underperforming schools, we continue to look to expand school choice.

S.B. 233 is the legislation we passed last year, and we now have high hopes that our friends in the House of Representatives will likewise vote to pass.

The Senate also has our eyes on tort reform. We look to improve Georgia’s troublesome litigation environment bypassing legislation to limit direct-action lawsuits. In 2023, Senate Republicans also led the crackdown on gangs, violent criminals, and rogue prosecutors. In one piece of unfinished business, we will keep more dangerous criminals off the streets by eliminating no-cash bail for violent offenders. As to developing our workforce, three Senate study committees addressed deficiencies facing Georgians who are seeking jobs and, as result, our caucus has prioritized improving career and credentialing pathways for veterans and military spouses seeking employment in Georgia’s healthcare system.

As we progress through the session, I will keep you updated on the legislation affecting our community.

Thank you for your continued interest in the General Assembly session. As your public servant, feel free to visit me at the Capitol or to reach out to me by phone or email. I am in 325-A Coverdell Legislative Office Building. My office phone number is (404) 656-7880, and my email is ben.watson@senate. I look forward to continuing to serve you.

Sen. Ben Watson is a member of the Georgia State Senate, representing District 1.

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