Perdue sells his budget to lawmakers

Gov. Sonny Perdue on Tuesday asked House and Senate budget writers to support his plan for boosting funding for transportation and warned them that more cuts loom.

Perdue was the first official to speak to the annual coming-together of the House and Senate appropriations committees’ week of hearings on changes necessary to the current fiscal 2010 budget as well as the “big budget” for 2011.

“When I was here in this meeting a year ago, we had gotten our December (revenue) numbers and they were surprisingly down, ” Perdue said. “We didn’t realize that was only a harbinger of the future.”

Over the next five months, he said, Georgia’s tax collections averaged a 20 percent decline.

“Only when we get back out of this crisis will we be able to understand the magnitude of managing through that level,” Perdue said. “You have to back 70 years in Georgia history to the Great Depression to find a legislature and a governor dealing with an economic situation similar to what we have here.”

That’s the bad news, he said. The good news is the state’s economic picture should not get worse, and Perdue’s budget proposals reflect that optimism. His plan for cutting an additional $1.2 billion from the $18.6 billion budget that runs through June 30 assumes no further decline — and no growth — in state revenues over the next six months. And the budget for 2011, which begins July 1, would assume about 4 percent growth, resulting in an $18.2 billion spending plan.

“That assumes we will grow again,” Perdue said. “But even, listen closely now, that’s not money you’re going to have to spend. Even with that revenue uptick, the loss of one-time funds, growth in formula-driven programs such as education and Medicaid, will force you again to make further cuts. This won’t surprise you.”

For most state agencies, Perdue said, most of the cuts to the current year’s budget have already been made.

But Perdue was also frank about the dangers facing the state. In fiscal 2012, which will begin July 1, 2011, the state will lose about $1.4 billion in federal stimulus funds and faces about $800 million in estimated increased costs for education and Medicaid.

“I hate to total it up for you, but that’s a budget gap of almost $2.2 billion,” Perdue said, adding that overall the budget shortfall could reach $2.6 billion.

That looming budget hole, he said, is one reason he has urged t hem to “do the hard thing now” and make necessary cuts to position Georgia for those days ahead, days when he will no longer be in office.

“I sense a deep responsibility to pass this torch and hand off a state on sound financial footing,” he said.

31 comments Add your comment

jdawg

January 19th, 2010
2:07 pm

You know I hate taxes locally, but what about a sales tax where even the tourists will help pay. This is not a save all, but I would be willing to pay my share, and let a few others also pay. This will help the burden of the sole property tax owners paying the bill..

Taxes needed

January 19th, 2010
2:12 pm

Time to tax cigarettes and alcohol…yes sin taxes.

We are next to last in taxes on tobacco…

And time to bring in gambling and the revenue and the jobs…

First casino in underground atl…

WhoIsPayingForAllTheBBQ

January 19th, 2010
2:46 pm

Medicaid, people, is different from Medicare. We all keep thinking about the poor older folks. I think about them, too. Medicaid is the medical care for the folks who keep having kids when they cannot afford the first one they have, then they don’t comply with their physicians recommendations so they show up at the emergency room and cost the taxpayers an outrageous amount of money for something that could have been taken care of during regular business hours, then they are needing milk for their babies, so we give them food stamps. But don’t worry too much, they have an Escalade to get to the liquor store for their booze and cigarettes. Sound reasonable to me!

Dan Dawg

January 19th, 2010
3:25 pm

Want to generate more tax revenue? SUNDAY ALCOHOL SALES!

Lo

January 19th, 2010
3:37 pm

WOW- HUNDREDS if not THOUSANDS of teachers stand to lose jobs this next school year and our students are those who suffer most. With these cuts come greater class sizes, less course choice (AP Courses and Honors) and absolutely burned out teachers and administrators. We are headed for a disaster and I guess GA constituents are willing to sit back and let it happen. This is how we treat our public servants.

lindyjoice

January 19th, 2010
3:38 pm

How about cutting the incomes of the lawmakers and the govenor and vice-govenor. Doing away with any and all expense accounts that they have, that way the taxpayers don’t have to pony up the money to pay for all of their trips and other things that they put on there. Make them PAY for their health insurance just like everybody else who works for the state has to. Make them that furlough days without pay. I bet the budget would get fixed then or at least not have so much cut from it.

Keith

January 19th, 2010
3:46 pm

Folks, you DO NOT raise taxes if you’re trying to jumpstart the economy. It might get you a few bucks short term at the expense of good growth as the economy recovers. This is a great time to eliminate some stuff the state does and reduce it’s size.

Lo

January 19th, 2010
3:55 pm

Keith- agreed but when education is gone past cutting to the bone to chopping off an arm- what do you do? Education fuels economic growth. A well educated populate is a major source of economic movement. Are we cutting off our nose to spite our face?

tc

January 19th, 2010
4:01 pm

who is paying for this,…….i guess you don’t understand that medicaid pays for a lot of old folks in nursing homes too……

Road Scholar

January 19th, 2010
4:03 pm

lindyjoice; vice govenor- learn your state history! Lieutenant governor. Or is he/she the one in charge of all the adultry at the Capitol?

Lo

January 19th, 2010
4:03 pm

I understand.. it gets down to the role of government and what are essential services. Is educating our children essential? The state consitution says so… we may need a constitutional amendment I guess.

CHRIS

January 19th, 2010
4:38 pm

THIME TO CHARGE CHURCHES THEIR FAIR SHARE OF PROPERTY TAX.

d

January 19th, 2010
5:08 pm

At least with education — which is the economic engine of the future, there is a simple solution. A 1/2 cent sales tax directed solely to education would only raise the price of a $100 purchase by 50 cents and, having the busiest airport in the world, people around the world would be paying to educate Georgia children, and don’t forget anyone driving through Georgia on I-75 headed to the Sunshine State would be helping as well. It’d require a constitutional amendment, but our children are worth it.

Santa

January 19th, 2010
5:15 pm

Four things eat up over 90% of the budget, education, law enforcement (including GBI, Public Safety, Corrections and Pardons and Paroles), health (Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities, Public Health and Human Services) and debt (bond servicing). It takes money to cut the debt so unless we want to default, that is untouchable.

The feds really control our health spending (see the additional $70 mil on mental health being forced by the courts), and education cuts short change the future. The only logical area I see is to review the punishments for non-violent crimes and increase the in-home monitoring.

In the long term, we need to understand that incarceration rates go up as the education levels go down. The history of us short changing our schools is why our prisons are full.

Col. Reality Check

January 19th, 2010
6:35 pm

@Santa –

Just to be clear, the “law enforcement” portion of the FY 2011 recommendations to which you refer to represents a whopping 9.6% of the state general funds budget. Some much for your logic. But you’re right — why not just let offenders burglarize to their hearts’ content, and then send them home to time-out so they can think real hard about what they’ve done wrong. That’s some seriously clever work, there.

Try again.

carl

January 19th, 2010
6:35 pm

Raise sales taxes? new sales taxes? new tobacco and alcohol taxes? Sheyotttt. Outlaw sales taxes, remove auto taxes, for starters. If we need new taxes, lets have a Kotex tax, Afrosheen tax, for starters. A lobbying tax of 10 grand per head, revote on exempting timber from taxes until harvest being landowners are charging out the rear for land leases after we voted to gove them a tax break, quit trying to save the world, even one child at the time, especially from outside countries like mexico, haiti, etc

OnceUponATime

January 19th, 2010
6:58 pm

How much do state tax revenues drop when state employees are furloughed? Part of what we are paid goes to the state as payroll deductions for income tax, you know.

We need to cut those things that aren’t mandated by the state Constitution before cutting the things that are. Where does the state Constitution mandate Sonny’s fish pond and the 3 museums in his home district the state is funding?

Stillwiththestate

January 20th, 2010
7:08 am

Like all state employees I have suffered with furloughs and increases in healthcare costs, but, unlike others, I don’t blame Sonny. He has done a tough job dealing with remarkable revenue losses and has kept the government running. Very few state employees have lost jobs, which is better than what has happened in the private sector. State employees need to quit the belly aching and appreciate how GA will come out of this crisis.

fairness for all

January 20th, 2010
8:43 am

Either restart sales taxes on groceries or switch to a state income tax that is a fair or flat tax with no exemptions. That way everyone pays a fair share. Look at budget cuts through reducing state administrative positions and/or reducing administrative salaries. Yes that includes school administration whose salaries have gotten far ahead of where they should be. Leave the workers/classroom teachers alone and take a really hard look at cutbacks/cuts in administration.

James

January 20th, 2010
9:39 am

10% sales tax on guns and ammo = profit!

potstirrer

January 20th, 2010
10:16 am

Is it time to join 12 other states and allow medical cannabis??
legalize and TAX IT!!! We won’t have a deficit in 2012!!!!!!

Bobby

January 20th, 2010
10:31 am

It’s time to put the sales tax back on groceries. Look around you, Georgians aren’t starving. Most of us, including myself, could stand to miss a meal or two!

WhoIsPayingForAllTheBBQ

January 20th, 2010
10:04 pm

TC- I may not be completely correct and accept your correction but please look and see what percent of medicaid actually goes to the elderly. You missed my point entirely about the abuse of medicaid. Now if their are elderly in nursing homes driving Escaldes, three cell phones, 4 babies and one on the way, I agree with you. Otherwise, I hold my ground. I have worked as a RN in the state of Georgia for 20 years and I see this abuse daily. That my friend, is a fact.

jp

January 21st, 2010
7:09 am

why not add 2cent fuel tax so that all cars and trucks coming through georgia can help pay some of the cost and stop adding jobs to look after the jobs that where added last year and etc. start using the funds to pay for what they where taken for– and stop giving out money for ever mistake that someone makes–quit covering up–everone is hurting so man up and get tuff with my money

originalwarriordawg

January 21st, 2010
8:35 am

THE FUEL TAX CAN ONLY BE USED FOR TRANSPORTATION ISSUES WHICH STILL IS GREATLY NEEDED. THE 1/2 CENT SALES TAX AND RAISING TAXES ON CIGARETTES AND ALCOHOL SALES ARE GREAT IDEAS FOR RAISING INCOME. ALSO THE EXTRA TAX ON GUNS AND AMMUNITION SALES IS A LEGITIMATE IDEA.

Santa

January 21st, 2010
12:30 pm

Col.,

I don’t view burglary as a non-violent crime. However, GA claims that 1/3 of those in prison are there for non-violent crime. Each one costs $26k/yr. on average. Make them pay for their on in-home monitoring, and save the state some bucks. No, that is not putting them back on the street. It is using technology and the offender’s pocketbook to save the state money.

The other alternative is to start paying reasonable taxes. GA spends the 49th lowest amount of money per capita. Only Alaska is behind us and they use their oil money. The reality check is that soon the federal courts will be running the health care side of our state, and education won’t be far behind. Why even a state charter school system can’t maintain their accreditation.

Georgian

January 21st, 2010
10:03 pm

Santa – Once you learn the reality about Georgia’s “justice system”, you’ll change your tune. MOST alleged “offenders” plead guilty so they are not forced to sit in jail for as much as FOUR YEARS to go to trial on their charges. AT LEAST 80% of those who plead guilty are NOT actually guilty, but the dirty judges and prosecutors in Georgia’s misnamed “justice system” know that if they hold someone long enough, that person will agree to do almost anything in order to be released. Have you ever heard of the crime known as EXTORTION? That’s a crime which the courts of this state commit ALL DAY EVERY DAY! Grow up, the State of Georgia is a totally corrupt criminal organization pretending to be a government!

Georgian

January 21st, 2010
10:26 pm

Santa – BTW, Who is fool enough to sit in a jail cell awaiting trial for up to four years on a charge that is often a simple misdemeanor, which usually carries a maximum sentence of ONE YEAR in jail? Even if the state is well aware the defendant is not guilty, the state STILL tries to be CERTAIN that person is FORCED to plead guilty, thus giving the state at least $1,000 in extorted monies. THOSE CORRUPT OFFICIALS WHO OPERATE THE COURTS OF GEORGIA ARE FAR NASTIER THAN THE CHARACTERS PORTRAYED IN THE MOVIE “DELIVERANCE”! THE RIGHTS GUARANTEED BY THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION ARE TOTALLY IGNORED BY MOST COURTS IN THIS STATE, ESPECIALLY THE COURTS IN FULTON, DOUGLAS, and DEKALB COUNTIES! GEORGIA IS A DISGRACE!

Georgian

January 22nd, 2010
5:15 pm

I’m leaving this open sewer of a nation! The future of the USA is extremely bleak and those of you who still foolishly continue to parrot “we’re the greatest nation on Earth” are totally out of touch with reality!

Georgian

January 22nd, 2010
5:23 pm

Half the state government employees in Georgia are not necessary, but you fools continue to search for new ways of taxing the public to be certain those bums are paid, instead of getting rid of the dead weight. Question EVERYTHING the government does and watch the Georgia legislature very carefully, most members belong in prison. Yes, they accept BRIBES, I know, I bribed Glenn Richardson to do something for me, then discovered he was a married man who had many girlfriends – that discovery cost me five months in jail on false charges – the legislature and the courts of Georgia can rot in hell!

Chris

January 22nd, 2010
6:04 pm

Gov. Purdue has made painful decisions in the face of the worst economy sin the Depression. The cuts in education spending are troubling but do seem to be necessary. Unlike the federal government, GA cannot simply print money. Still, imposing new taxes on tobacco and alcohol is not a bad idea and should be explored as a way to offset some of these cuts. Reducing the compensation of lawmakers is another good idea. Placing non-violent offenders in a home-confinement situation at their expense is another.

There a lot of things that can be done to weather the economic downturn and position GA for a brighter tomorrow.