State Sen. Jack Hill spoke about Georgia’s economy Tuesday during the “One Nation Under God” prayer luncheon held at Forest Heights Country Club.
The event was hosted by the Exchange Club of Statesboro and Professional Women of Statesboro. The annual luncheon is held to thank local pastors, ministers and other church associates for helping maintain awareness of patriotism and religion, said Lisa Glisson, past president of the Exchange Club of Georgia and member of the local chapter.
Hill, R-Reidsville, was the keynote speaker for the luncheon. In keeping with the theme of the luncheon, he opened his speech by quoting the Rev. Billy Graham: “America is great because of our belief in God.”
As chairman of the Georgia Senate Appropriations Committee, Hill spoke of the state budget as well as cuts and revenue issues.
The good news is that another $2.8 million was added to funding for the new biology building being constructed at Georgia Southern University, bringing the sum to around $40 million, he said.
Also, about $12.6 million has been set aside for the new natural resources building at Ogeechee Technical College. The building and addition of classes will “greatly expand their courses in that field.”
Additional funding is being appropriated for the channel improvements project in the Port of Savannah, he said.
“There is no project more important than that,” Hill said, because of the increased commerce that will result from the channel being dug deeper.
While revenues looked good at the beginning of the year, they have since dropped and, “We have never recovered from the recession,” Hill said. “We’re about where we were in 2006.”
Revenues are down and nothing new is being generated, he said.
“This is not a lot of new money,” Hill said. “There’s a hole for everything we have.”
Hill discussed several points of the economy, including possible future funding cuts and effects of different state issues that could impact the budget.
A guest at the luncheon asked Hill whether he is “making sure godly morals are being kept as the cornerstone of society.”
Hill responded that he believes marriage is a “union of people of different sexes” and said the issue has been resolved in Georgia by a constitutional amendment voters approved several years ago.
“We voted on that, and you won’t have that issue in Georgia,” he said. “It has been settled.”
He also answered questions about fossil fuels, expressing a prediction that the U.S. will be “energy independent by 2019.”
The Exchange Club of Statesboro, chartered in 1993, focuses on promotion of patriotism and religion and child abuse prevention, Glisson said.
Professional Women of Statesboro is a group of business-related women who work on local civic issues, said Alison Carter, the organization’s president. The groups worked together to host the luncheon.
Holli Deal Bragg may be reached at (912) 489-9414.