Informacion economica sobre Cuba

Perdue's office defends overseas trade missions
By Walter C. Jones – Morris News Service
Published Sunday, June 27, 2010

ATLANTA – The bills still aren't tallied for two overseas trips Gov.
Sonny Perdue took this month, one to Cuba and one to Argentina and
Uruguay, but critics already say he used poor judgment, chastising his
timing and decision to visit a communist country.
http://images.morris.com/images/athens/mdControlled/cms/2010/06/26/661955223.jpg
File || On June 6, Perdue led a 43-person delegation — including four
journalists and 23 private business people who paid their own way at
$2,500 apiece — on a two-day trip to Cuba.
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File
On June 6, Perdue led a 43-person delegation — including four
journalists and 23 private business people who paid their own way at
$2,500 apiece — on a two-day trip to Cuba.
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The governor's office defends both trade missions as part of the state's
strategy for minimizing future economic slowdowns.

Perdue's spokesman Bert Brantley compared the trips to trade missions
the governor led to South Korea in 2003, which three years later led to
the announcement that Kia Motors would build a plant in West Point,
creating nearly 4,000 jobs.

"What this really is about is meeting face to face with prospects that
would potentially invest in Georgia and establish jobs here," Brantley said.

On June 6, Perdue led a 43-person delegation – including four
journalists and 23 private business people who paid their own way at
$2,500 apiece – on a two-day trip to Cuba. The per-person cost taxpayers
paid for Perdue, legislators and the 15 aides and bodyguards was
slightly less, his office said.

He left again June 20 with a small group of staff for a three-day visit
to Uruguay and Argentina.

While several state agencies will share the cost of the trips, together
they will ring up to about $100,000. That rankled Jeff Hubbard,
president of the Georgia Association of Educators.

"During this continued, unprecedented time of economic upheaval in
Georgia, and especially near the end of Georgia's fiscal year, it is our
opinion that Governor Perdue should be dealing with the daily challenges
of life in Georgia – education, health care, water, etc. – rather than
taking taxpayer-paid trips to foreign countries to lobby for
international trade," Hubbard said. "His focus should continue to be
meeting the needs of almost 10 millions Georgians, not lobbying on
behalf of big business."

The state's fiscal year ends Wednesday. Tax collections have continued
to come in below expectations, meaning Georgia will begin its new
spending year with roughly $300 million less than budget planners
expected. Congress also hasn't voted to extend Medicaid assistance to
states, taking an additional $375 million from the pot of money that
legislators counted on when they drafted the budget.

As Perdue is unlikely to call a special session of the General Assembly
to raise taxes, he will oversee the next round of cutting himself.

The timing of the Cuba trip also fell on Perdue's deadline for signing
or vetoing legislation, including the budget.

"Regardless of budget, why would the governor of Georgia make a trip to
Cuba, especially in the final weekend before the veto cutoff of the 2010
legislative session?" asked Tricia Pridemore, head of the 9.12 Project
Action Network and the Conservative Leadership Coalition.

Pridemore also is upset that Perdue would choose Cuba, a communist
dictatorship that the U.S. has boycotted for a half-century.

"Gov. Perdue's recognizing them with his presence is an insult to the
freedom-loving Georgians who voted him into office," Pridemore said.
"There are plenty of other nations that can use our agriculture
products. Let's do business with those who do not kill their own people
for the sake of power."

Brantley argues that the trip to Cuba positions Georgia to capitalize if
the Obama administration lifts some trade restrictions, as some
officials are hinting. Georgia already is a major exporter of
agricultural products – such as chicken, soybeans and pork – to Cuba,
and Agriculture Commissioner Tommy Irvin has made almost yearly trips to
the island nation since farm products could be shipped there.

"The governor believes, whether it's China (which Perdue visited in
2008) or Cuba, there are inroads you can make through trade and the
cultural interaction," Brantley said.

http://www.onlineathens.com/stories/062710/new_661955210.shtml


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