Perdue visits Augusta teachers, responds to Taylor's criticism

By: Kate Tillotson
By: Kate Tillotson

August 4, 2006

$100 can buy a shopping cart full of school supplies...and that is the idea behind state-issued debit cards given to every Georgia teacher.

But is it all a political scheme?

Governor Sonny Perdue was in Augusta Friday promoting the first ever state-issued debit card.

"This hundred dollar gift card on the tax free holiday is kind of like roses," Perdue said. "It just lets them know we know what they're doing and we appreciate it."

"There are so many teachers who supplement their purchases themselves. This was really important to be able to help them be able to do that," said Cheryl Crocker, regional vice president of Office Depot.

But surprisingly, not everyone's on board.

Believe it or not, this tiny piece of plastic is causing political tension.

It cost Georgia $10 million to pay for teacher credit cards. Perdue's opponent Mark Taylor calls it a $10 million gimmick.

In a statement released Friday, Taylor labels Perdue's trip "Tour de Fraud" and says he uses "gimmicks instead of governing."

Taylor goes on to say that what teachers really need is higher pay and better-funded schools.

"Teachers know how to spend that money. They know what they need in their classroom," Perdue responded. "Find some objection from teachers. I'm not hearing any. The only objection I hear is from somebody who wants my job."

Meanwhile, teachers weren't letting politics get in their way of stocking up on supplies Friday, no matter which side of the political aisle they may lean.

Augusta was one of five cities Governor Perdue visited Friday. He told News 12 off-camera that his opponent will likely criticize most things he does between now and November.


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