- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 15, 2014

ATLANTA (AP) - State Sen. Jason Carter says Gov. Nathan Deal is forgetting about the middle class in favor of big businesses and arguing state education cuts have forced an increase in local property taxes.

Carter on Wednesday offered the Democratic response to Deal’s annual State of the State address. Carter, the grandson of former President Jimmy Carter, is seeking to challenge Deal in the November election.

In his speech, Carter says he wants lawmakers to be forced to consider the budget in two parts with the first focused on education. Carter says once the state education budget is set, lawmakers can move on to consider funding the rest of state government. He says that’ll make education the top funding priority.

Meanwhile, Deal is proposing a $547 million increase in state education funding.

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