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Decreased revenues require reassessment
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Just when you believe that everything is under control, something will jump up and bite you.

Fiscal Year 2011 revenues were well ahead of FY 2010, and for the first six months of this year, revenue collections were running about 4.5 percent ahead of FY 2011.

Unfortunately, December revenues were down and January was weak with less than 1 percent growth, so on Feb. 20, Gov. Nathan Deal was forced to lower the FY 2012 revenue estimate by $47.2 million.

It has been less than a month since the House passed the FY 2012 Amended Budget adding some $200 million to much needed programs.

The new estimate means that we must redo the Amended Budget and rethink the work in process on the FY 2013 Budget.

The governor originally projected FY 2013 revenue growth to be 5.2 percent over FY 2012; however, the February issue of the Georgia State University Economic Forecasting Center projects an FY 2013 revenue growth of only 4 percent. The difference (5.2 vs 4.0) equates to about $200 million.

Cutting $200 million from the FY 2013 amended budget would be painful for all involved.

We got at least one piece of good news about the future of Georgia's economy.

On Feb. 17, Gov. Deal announced that Caterpillar Inc. will bring more than 1,400 jobs to Georgia with the construction of a new manufacturing plant in Athens.

In addition to these jobs at the new plant, Caterpillar's suppliers and increased retail sales are expected to create another 2,800 jobs.

The announcement proves that Georgia is an internationally competitive market, as Caterpillar will actually relocate Japanese production of small excavators and backhoes to the new Georgia plant.

It is encouraging to see this positive news after all the work my colleagues and I have put into restoring Georgia's economy and promoting job creation.

Last year, we started the process of implementing meaningful tax reform that would encourage small business growth and investment.

Last week I wrote about the need for a state constitutional amendment to insure that the partnership between the state and the school systems remains a true partnership.

It clarifies our constitution so that we maintain a system of checks and balances in state policies regarding education.

While local school boards play a crucial role in providing public education, the state has a responsibility to protect its "educated workforce brand."

This is so businesses know that starting operations in Georgia will give them a pool of employees that are competent, qualified and prepared to work.

I want to thank Dawson County Principal Julia Mashburn of Riverview Elementary School for visiting the capitol and for the extended discussion pertaining to financing K-12 Education.

Probably the most important moment last week was when we paused to recognize the Georgia National Guard and the brave men and women who have fought and died in Iraq and Afghanistan protecting our great state and nation.

We honored the sacrifice of our 45 fallen heroes and welcomed their families to the capitol.

The Lumpkin County Board of Commissioners has asked its representatives in the General Assembly to take no action on either Sunday Sales of alcohol or to allow package liquor stores in the county. They do not support either issue.

Those of you who disagree with the commissioners should contact them.

Lumpkin County has just received notification from Department of Community Affairs that Special Condition No. 2 on their request for a $300,000 grant for the Senior Center has been cleared. The county can now move forward with the project.

Thanks again to John Hillman for asking me to check with DCA on it at one of my recent Saturday morning breakfasts.

Good communications between constituents and all levels of government gets answers and action.

On Saturday, March 10 and 17, I will be at the Wagon Wheel Restaurant in Dahlonega for my breakfast with constituents at 8 a.m. Come join us.

Rep. Amos Amerson can be reached at 401 Capitol Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30334; phone (404) 657-8534; fax (404) 463-2044; e-mail Or contact Gerald Lewy, at (706) 344-7788.