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Georgia’s budget is one big hole

POSTED: October 12, 2008 5:03 a.m.

America’s budget is in turmoil. Our national debt is at an all-time high, home prices are falling, financial institutions are failing and people are losing confidence in the American dollar.

 

 

Washington is proposing to spend up to $700 billion of your money to bailout Wall Street banks. That’s 50 percent more than the yearly Pentagon Budget.

 

 

Yikes!

 

 

Georgia, like many other states, is facing its own budgetary woes. Georgia’s budget is one big hole and it’s getting deeper by the day. 

 

 

Georgia’s deficit is nearly $2 billion. 

 

 

That does not count the deficit of almost $500 million at the Department of Transportation. At a time when we should be building more roads and reducing congestion, we may be required to look at lay-offs, project cancellations and other reductions.

 

 

In 2003, the state legislature worked with the Governor’s office to create a “rainy day” reserve fund of nearly a billion and a half dollars. The majority of that fund is now gone in order to balance some of the budget shortfalls in 2008.

 

 

The governor’s decision to find six percent (or higher) in agency cuts are decisive, but are they enough and at what cost? Are reductions being found in all the right places? For instance, are we hurting ourselves with significant cuts in education or in tax credits, which could spur the economy down the road? These two things are critical for creating jobs and boosting the local economy.

 

 

As the governor’s plans come before the Legislature this season, my colleagues and I face the challenge of ensuring a balanced budget and fiscal responsibility, while not sacrificing service to our citizens and their families. We will examine each proposal with a fine-tooth comb.

 

 

The state senate is already making efforts to control spending. The senate is cutting back on travel, limiting supply and equipment purchases, adjusting thermostats and looking at all of our priorities to make determinations of how to further reduce the operational costs of the Senate. We’re taking six percent cuts across the board and are looking for more in order to share in the financial burden.

 

 

Lt. Governor Cagle has asked the Senate Appropriations subcommittee chairs to start holding hearings throughout the month of October to begin early discussions on budget. This unprecedented action taken by the Lt. Governor and the Senate will properly prepare for an efficient and decisive legislative session.

 

 

My hope is that the Georgia General Assembly and executive branch continue to be fiscally responsible at all times and not just in times of turmoil. 

 

 

To assure fiscal responsibility, the senate look will fund required projects and initiatives that are in the best interest of Georgians. Those projects and initiatives will be ones that lead to opportunities for economic growth for Georgia and the nation.

 

 

Please feel free to contact Sen. Chip Pearson at his office in Atlanta at (404) 656-9221 or by e-mail at chip.pearson@senate.ga.gov.

 

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