Barnes, Deal Start To Focus On Jobs

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ATLANTA — The race to be Georgia's next governor turned to jobs on Thursday.

Democratic nominee Roy Barnes unveiled his plan to get Georgia's economy moving as Republican Nathan Deal won some key endorsements.

Barnes announced a plan he said would create jobs immediately upon taking office. "For a period of two years, if you create a new job, we will waive the state's portion of the payroll tax," pledged Barnes.

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Barnes, speaking in Midtown Atlanta, said as governor, he would also eliminate capital gains taxes for two years on Georgia investors. The Democratic candidate told business leaders he would also focus on biomedical research and expanding broadband internet access.

Barnes told Channel 2's political reporter Lori Geary that in the final month of the race, he plans a new focus on issues rather than attacks on Deal for not releasing complete tax returns.

Across town in northwest Atlanta, the attention turned to Deal.

Potential 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney announced his support for Deal and state attorney general candidate Sam Olens on Thursday.

Romney had endorsed Republican Karen Handel in the primary but Thursday said he was excited about Deal's candidacy and his chances of victory.

The endorsement came as Deal campaigned in Savannah, also talking jobs and winning the endorsement of a small business group.

Deal's latest ad outlines plans to retain and expand the number of jobs and also included tax exemptions for start-up businesses and a one-third reduction in corporate income taxes.