Governor Kemp Warns Of Slowing Economy At Gwinnett Chamber

Gov. Brian Kemp has promised a $5,000 pay raise for teachers. Earlier this year, he and lawmakers raised teacher pay by $3,000.

John Bazemore / Associated Press file

Speaking to the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce Monday, Gov. Brian Kemp said he’s worried about the economy slowing down during his term, and cited it as a reason for his recent directive to state agencies to cut their spending by 4% this year and 6% next year. 

He spent much of the address highlighting different legislative achievements, including pushing for $3,000 teacher pay raises and a 2% pay increase for state employees. Those priorities were part of the largest budget in history passed this spring: $27.5 billion. He has also promised teachers $2,000 more in pay raises in the near future. But Kemp said going forward, he wants to reign in other state spending.

“Earlier this month you may have read I directed state agencies to cut wasteful spending and streamline operations through proactive leadership,” he said. “We are budgeting conservatively. We’re saving for a rainy day and we’re keeping taxes low. And this is the right time to be doing that.”

The governor told Gwinnett business leaders despite solid job growth numbers, he’s trying to be proactive.

“We’ve had a great run,” he said. “I don’t think the economy is going to stay quite as good for me as it did through the [Nathan] Deal years. But I’m keeping my fingers crossed because I think we’re in a really good position,” he said. “There’s just things happening around the world that’s just a little frustrating. You can’t really control them. So we’ve just got to deal with what we’ve got to deal with and keep choppin’ out there.”

A recent survey of American business economists by the National Association for Business Economics showed 74% of them expect a recession by the end of 2021.

Plus, Kemp campaigned on “blowing up government spending.”