Deal made his remarks at the Wild Hog Supper, the annual dinner that serves as the unofficial kickoff of Georgia's legislative session.
Deal said that in principle, he supports taxing people more on what they spend than on what they earn. But he cautioned that drastic changes to the personal income tax would be difficult because it provides roughly half of the state government's revenue.
"Making even slight changes to that has huge economic implications," said Deal, a Republican.
He said he plans to lay out his economic competitiveness agenda at the Georgia Chamber of Commerce's Eggs and Issues breakfast on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, state lawmakers and lobbyists ate hog, chicken and peach ice cream as they prepared for their second session with Deal as governor.
About 1,500 people attended the annual Wild Hog Supper, held at the Georgia Depot. Many remarked on the warm evening, a sharp contrast to last year's snowy start. The GOP presidential primary season was also a popular topic, with the New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida contests around the corner.
Closer to home, the state's leading politicians underscored the Legislature's priorities for the session, which begins Monday. In addition to tackling the budget, lawmakers are expected to focus over the next 40 days on job creation, tax reform and an overhaul of the state's criminal justice system.
House Speaker David Ralston said he is committed to a tax policy for the state "that will make Georgia competitive" and is optimistic about this year's prospects for progress.
"I'm comfortable now with the data we have," Ralston said. "That was the problem last year; I didn't think we had credible data for members to vote on.
Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle said he believes there is an opportunity to "make significant changes to the tax code," but added that downsizing state government will also be a key agenda item this year.
Associated Press reporter Ray Henry contributed to this report.