MARIETTA — Following the 50th anniversary celebration of the C-5 at Marietta’s Lockheed plant Tuesday, Gov. Nathan Deal answered questions from the media on a variety of topics.
Deal touched on the rhetoric coming from the two Republicans running to replace him, the new transit law, the impact of the president’s tariffs on Georgia businesses and the water wars with Alabama and Florida.
Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, a candidate to replace Deal in a runoff for the Republican nomination against Secretary of State Brian Kemp, has called for a boycott of the work of Judd Apatow, director of such movies as “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” and “Anchorman,” for reportedly calling President Donald Trump a Nazi.
Said Deal: “I think most of us are very pleased that we have a very good and thriving film industry in our state. We are now told that domestically we rank (as) the No. 3 state in the country. Overall, internationally, for major film production last year I think we were No. 1. It is over $9.5 billion of economic impact and continues to grow.
“So I think we should be very cautious. Now, that goes two ways. The film industry should be very cautious of trying to tell Georgia what its social policies should be. They will get reactions if they go too far in that regard. Likewise, the state of Georgia should be very cautious telling us what their social policies should be. I think there’s a happy middle ground. So far I think we’ve found that.”
On which direction Cobb County should go regarding the new transit law:
“Well, I’m not about to give local officials advice as to what they should or shouldn’t do. I think the voters will look at those issues, hopefully very thoroughly. The ATL legislation that we recently signed, and we celebrated that coming into place, is truly historic. It does give the opportunity for local jurisdictions of their own volition to become a part of a larger metropolitan network. I think that is the vision that all of us embrace.
“… So as long as the choice is still left in the hands of local government and the voters, I think you can still achieve a degree of uniformity under the umbrella of ATL.”
On the Supreme Court’s pending decision on the water rights battle with Florida and his hope for his successor in the ongoing litigation:
“We had hoped that during my administration we would have been able to reach an agreement with the governors of (Florida and Alabama). We got very close at one point in time, but that did not happen. I regret that … Hopefully the Congress will not decide to try to take the issue into their hands because I do not think they will reach the same conclusions that people who have looked at it in much more depth will reach …”
On the main sticking point in reaching agreement:
“The governors came very close to agreeing, but (governors from other states) had outside advisors who came in and intervened and stopped it. Both states are unique. The state of Alabama has concerns with two of our river basins. Florida, primarily, has concerns with the ACF (Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin) because that’s the one that flows into the bay that they’re concerned about their oysters. But we got very close. Sometimes politics gets in the way, too.
“… I thought we were going to get it done, but we didn’t, and I regret that.”
On whether the new tariffs will harm Georgia’s ranking as the No. 1 state in which to do business:
“There will be some companies that sell their product into places like the European Union, where we’ve seen Harley-Davidson reacting to that. There will be others who sell just generally across the globe to other countries. But when you put it all in perspective, the United States has one of the lowest tariff barriers of any country in the world. And these countries that are now complaining still have tariffs that are higher than ours. So if we want to have free trade, then we both have got to resume the posture of reducing tariffs. They can’t complain too much, in my opinion, about us raising our tariffs when ours are still well below theirs …”