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Perdue announces stimulus package plan aimed at creating jobs

ATHENS -- Gov. Sonny Perdue on Monday announced an "aggressive" state stimulus package of new infrastructure projects to help Georgia out of its economic malaise.

Perdue didn't discuss figures or specific projects, which will come out as his administration finishes a budget that the governor said they're "putting to bed right now." But Perdue said education and transportation projects would be particularly important as the state takes on debt to build new projects and put people to work.

The state issues bonds most years to fund large construction projects, but this year Perdue discussed bonded projects as a tool for job creation.

"We will have an aggressive bond package this year," Perdue told reporters, following a speech to legislators gathered in Athens for a couple of days of pre-legislative-session training and hob-nobbing.

The governor's announcement came with some positive economic news: November revenue figures were up 1.4 percent for the state this year compared to November 2007. But revenues are still down for the current fiscal year as a whole, and last year wasn't a good year for state finances, either.

That amounts to a cash flow problem, but the state has strong reserves and an excellent bond rating, Perdue said.

Federal bailout money may be coming for infrastructure projects as well, but Perdue said he's not counting on that as he builds a budget and his bond package.

"We're cash poor, but we've got good credit. ... " he said. "(We can do) our own stimulus package for the state of Georgia."

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