By MICHAEL SHANNONAssociated PressAUGUSTa, Ga.
(AP) The Georgia Legislature was left scrambling Tuesday to get its legislative session back on track after a $100 million win by a casino in the state that had been plagued by corruption and legal problems.
Nathan Deal called the win a major victory for the state and its lawmakers, who were trying to pass a budget to shore up the economy as it faces a massive debt crisis and the opioid crisis.
Deal, who campaigned on an overhaul of Georgia’s criminal justice system, said the win will put the state on its feet.
Deal said the $100 billion deal with the Fair Go casino in downtown Atlanta shows that the state can work with the casinos, the state’s largest casino operator, to create jobs and bring back businesses that have been abandoned by the state for decades.
The state’s second-largest casino operator won its contract after a deal to buy and lease the property from the Atlanta-based hotel and casino operator.
Deal says the $110 million in winnings for the casino represents a 40 percent premium to the $75 million Fair Go had paid the state.
Deal says the state has also won $10 million in fees to run the casino.
The Fair Go victory marks the latest major victory in the Georgia state’s fight to fight corruption.
Georgia is among the states that has struggled to overhaul its criminal justice and judicial systems and is struggling to contain the growing opioid crisis that has affected tens of thousands of Georgians.
Deal has been trying to overhaul the criminal justice process and has vowed to overhaul state prisons.
The Georgia legislature passed a budget bill that includes sweeping reforms to the state prison system and is expected to pass another in coming weeks.
The new budget would cut more than $1 billion from prison operations and increase prison overcrowding, among other changes.
The Republican governor also has said he will seek a second term, a term that could be in jeopardy if a Democratic challenger is elected governor in 2020.
Savannah State fairgoers have an idea of how the Georgia State Fair will go from a free-standing structure with no crowds, to a crowd of tens of thousands.
That’s because the fair will open in 2019.
The next year, it will be a riot.
“This is going to be a state fair,” said Michael Tatum, a Savannah resident who will be driving from Washington to the fair.
“Theres a lot of people coming.
This is going on for more than the year.
Theres going to a lot going on.”
Tatum is part of a group of drivers who have been trying to get to the Savannah State Fairs every other week since it opened.
He said the state fair will become a state of mind.
“Youre going to get a lot more people,” he said.
Tatum said the traffic will get worse.
He told News24 that he expects traffic will increase because of the crowds.
The Georgia State fair is a big draw in Savannah, which is about 50 miles northwest of Atlanta.
Georgia State Fair 2017 was the second year in a row that the fair was the state’s top attraction.
Last year, the state awarded the state the prestigious Gold Medal of Excellence.
The first year of the state Fair in 2019 was also the first time that the state had not had a state flag in the sky.
In addition to the Georgia state flag, the Georgia flag of the United States will be flown in the grounds.
The Savannah StateFair was named for a plantation where slaves were used for cotton and wool.
The Fair will be open from Thursday to Saturday, but the crowds will be shorter, and the weather will be drier.