Deal promises funds for rural air ambulances, economic development - Rome News-Tribune: Local

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Deal promises funds for rural air ambulances, economic development

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Posted: Wednesday, January 15, 2014 1:00 pm

ATLANTA -- Gov. Nathan Deal said this morning his budget recommendations will include added funds for rural helicopter ambulances and economic development.

Deal gave the Georgia Chamber of Commerce's Eggs & Issues breakfast crowd a brief preview of his State of the State address coming later today.

He said the air ambulances will save lives by improving the time required to transport critical patients to treatment, especially in South West Georgia where there are few large medical centers.

"Someone hurt in these crashes may require speed beyond what our roads will allow, and in that case, we call in a helicopter to carry them to a hospital," he said.

He also announced a $25 million addition for economic development to aid local governments woo employers. He didn't offer details on how the funds will be used.

"These additional resources help local communities and development authorities build critical elements needed to attract companies and will allow us to continue to partner with local efforts, which will bring more jobs to our state," he said.

Another $5 million will go toward technical-college courses in welding, health care technology, diesel mechanics and information technology.

The Chamber also used the breakfast to launch a campaign to encourage businesses and governments in the state to increase their purchases of Georgia-made products by 2 percent.

"This is not a one-month or a one-day campaign. This is going to be part of the chamber DNA," said Chris Clark, the business organization's president.

House Speaker David Ralston told the audience one way the legislature is planning to boost the economy is by removing regulations that hinder business. Statewide hearings conducted in the last year by the House Small Business Committee's Red Tape Watch yielded many suggestions.

"We're going to be taking a look at those during the session," said Ralston, R-Blue Ridge. "I think that's a good example of reaching out to Georgians and letting them know that we do listen to their concerns."

Follow Walter Jones on Twitter @MorrisNews and Facebook or contact him at walter.jones@morris.com or (404) 589-8424.

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