Capitol Recap: Deal to filmmakers: Georgia’s still ready for close-ups


Gov. Nathan Deal is making his annual trek to Hollywood bearing a message the film industry will want to hear.

He’ll be telling filmmakers that Georgia’s tax credits — which have helped make the state the third-busiest producer of films and TV shows in the nation — will continue long after the closing credits roll on his administration.

The surviving candidates for governor — Democrat Stacey Abrams and Republicans Casey Cagle and Brian Kemp — all remain supporting players. Each has pledged to keep in place the credits, which allow filmmakers to offset as much as 30 percent of a production’s expenses, after Deal leaves office in January.

The incentives began when Sonny Perdue was governor, and Deal expanded them. In all, the state has handed out more than $1 billion in tax credits.

Text and context: About now, former state Rep. Geoff Duncan is probably taking former state Sen. Rick Jeffares off his speed dial.

Duncan thought he and Jeffares had a deal that one would endorse the other in a GOP runoff against state Sen. David Shafer for lieutenant governor.

But Jeffares endorsed Shafer.

Duncan decided to share some text messages between him and Jeffares.

In the first, Duncan wrote that he was “catching wind that your meeting with Shafer in Henry County tomorrow to cut a deal.”

“I’m hoping this is not accurate based on our very clear mutual agreement on Tuesday morning to endorse each other if one of us was in the runoff,” Duncan wrote before reminding Jeffares of “multiple references you made about Shafer’s lack of character.”

Jeffares’ response was of the “it’s all cool, bro” mode.

“Rumors are always rumors, yes I’m meeting with Shafer but I promise no deals are being struck, want to see him sweat a little,” he wrote.

Barr barbs: Georgia had its own “Roseanne” moment.

Seth Weathers, who was briefly Donald Trump’s state director — following the cancellation of the show after Roseanne Barr posted her racist tweet about Valerie Jarrett — put up his own post about the former aide to President Barack Obama.

Tweeting a photograph of Jarrett, he wrote: “FYI, this is the ‘African-American’ that @therealroseanne offended. Questions?”

Response was immediate and much of it damning, with Republican elected officials depicting Weathers as a fringe operative.

State Rep. John Pezold, R-Columbus, focused on Weathers’ recent track record.

“Hey but good luck finding the next schmuck who’s willing to pay you to run their losing campaign,” Pezold wrote on Twitter. “I’m more than 4.89% certain you’ll be perfect for each other.”

It’s an apparent reference to the performance by state Sen. Michael Williams in the GOP race for governor. Weathers managed Williams’ campaign, which drew less than 5 percent of the vote in the primary.

Responding to a question about his use of quotation marks in his post, Weathers said he doesn’t “believe in hyphenated Americans.”

“We’re all Americans,” he said. “Using quotation marks was a reflection of that.”

Take it back: Georgia U.S. Sen. David Perdue is backing an effort several Senate conservatives are waging to take back $15 billion in federal spending that Congress and the White House have already approved.

Perdue, The Hill reports, is one of about a half-dozen GOP senators co-sponsoring a package of rescissions. They’re trying to move quickly to take advantage of a 45-day window that would allow them to avoid a filibuster.

The targeted funding includes money for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which under the moniker of PeachCare covers more than 130,000 kids in Georgia at any given time, and efforts to eliminate Ebola.

President Donald Trump is supporting the move, but it faces an uphill battle. U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is not a fan.

Malevolence? Yes, please let it be that: News 95.5 and AM 750 WSB host Erick Erickson has a theory for why he says President Donald Trump uses conspiracy theories.

Erickson is a solid conservative but not somebody Trump can reliably count on. You may remember that during the spring training stage of the 2016 presidential campaign, Erickson disinvited Trump from speaking at the RedState Gathering in Atlanta following a comment the candidate made involving Megyn Kelly, blood and eyes.

For a New York Times story about how Trump tries to discredit institutions that threaten his presidency, Erickson — cited in the story as once calling Trump a “walking, talking National Enquirer” — gave this explanation for why the president’s conspiracy theories prove effective:

“A lot of people really want to believe a conspiracy because it’s a lot easier to think a malevolent force is in charge than that our government is run by idiots.”

Sometimes they’re just guidelines: The world of politics comes with rules:

  • All politics is local.
  • It’s the economy, stupid.
  • Don’t talk about Fight Club.

The big rule earlier last month, though, was timing is everything.

Two days after the primary, Fulton County tax bills popped into mailboxes stretching from Fairburn to Milton.

Those would be the tax bills that show a 30 percent increase in property values countywide. (Your mileage may vary.)

That’s the kind of number that can turn into torches and pitchforks, especially at the polls. But it’s too late for that.

The Democratic primary was the only game in town, er, county. No Republican is running for chairman of the Fulton County Commission, so the race was settled when incumbent Robb Pitts topped former state Rep. Keisha Waites by 1,772 votes out of 83,396 cast. That’s a sliver of 2.1 percent.

Crossing party lines: The (Republican) people have spoken, but John Hitchins won't be a party to it.

Hitchins lost to Public Service Commissioner Tricia Pridemore in a close battle during the GOP primary. He’s still fighting.

He refuses to endorse Pridemore in November’s general election.

Hitchins tweeted that he’ll be “supporting one of the challengers and not my party (or the status quo) because this is a non-partisan issue.”

“It is a Georgia ratepayers vs. special interests issue,” he wrote.

Libertarian John Turpish is the apparent winner of that support.

Democrat Dawn Randolph is also running in the race.

Looking for less: The American public has grown to expect less from presidentsaccording to an update to a Gallup poll question first asked decades ago.

During the Clinton administration, Gallup reports, an average of 72 percent of U.S. adults said it was very important for the president to provide moral leadership for the country.

That dropped to 66 percent when Gallup asked the question again during a survey conducted May 1-10.

OK, so not that much.

But dig in a little deeper and you’ll find — unsurprisingly — a partisan divide.

The number of Republicans who seek moral leadership from a president was down 23 percentage points. Naturally, Democrats felt differently. They saw a 13-point increase.


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