Senate panel makes minor changes to state budget

Senate budget writers largely agreed with an amended 2010 state budget that passed the House last week, but made several changes that will require negotiations nonetheless.

The Senate Appropriations Committee unanimously approved a $17.4 billion budget for the current fiscal year that ends June 30.

Among their changes, senators propose adding $1.8 million back into the Department of Revenue’s budget to allow the agency to employ a second and third shift of temporary workers to process income tax returns.

Senate Appropriations chairman Jack Hill (R-Reidsville) also said the Senate version includes at least $600,000 in savings by moving the state from embossed to flat license plates that are produced digitally.

Department of Revenue Commissioner Bart Graham, whose agency oversees license plate production and sales, said it would save the state time and money.

Hill said the other major change in Senate budget deals with payments to private hospitals who participate in a particular state program. The governor had budgeted $8.6 million for the system; the House upped that to $14.5 million.

The Senate zeroes that out for this fiscal year budget said it plans to add the money into the budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

The amended 2010 budget should hit the Senate floor this week. Assuming it’s approved there, it will go to conference committee where House and Senate negotiators will hammer out a compromise.

But, there is some speculation that conferees might take their time to see if state revenues begin to rebound. The budget as passed by the House is already $234 million out of balance because January’s revenue collections were well below estimates.

If that new deficit is not countered by rising revenue collections, lawmakers will have to make further cuts.

3 comments Add your comment

Wally

February 16th, 2010
5:08 pm

I think our legislators know what time it is. Folks, the economy ain’t coming back and there will be no recovery. Job losses and foreclosures will continue unabated and state revenues will continue to dwindle. There is no new source of prosperity in our future. Cities, counties and school boards across this state will soon be insolvent. The state won’t be able to help – it has troubles of its own. This state’s economy is in a death spiral. Our leaders have their heads in the sand.

Dick

February 16th, 2010
8:13 pm

Why hire extra part time people for second and third shifts? WE have people drawing unemployment that had jrather get up and go to work in lieu of lying around. Up their unemployment $25.00 a week to pay for them getting to work and pay them the unemployment. Another area that hasn’t even been discussed much is medicaid and peach care. When a child has a baby they must give name of father or a lisgt of prospective fathers and have those named give DNA samples. Compare t the baby and make teh real Dad provide and support the child. If you tell the new mother no governmental assistance until names or list is given,, they will start singing like a bird. We waste too much on the kids being conceived by dead beat moms and dads

Anonymous Jones

February 23rd, 2010
11:59 pm

It’s time to outsource prisoners to Mexico. We’ve already sent them many industries, which has cost Georgia dearly in jobs so a few more jobs can’t hurt that much more. My guess is that they could handle our prisoners at a savings of 70 per cent. Then we could put that $20,000 for each of the 60,000 prisoners in schools for our children. That billion dollars would be more than enough to make up for the $800,000 that the Governor and General Assembly are proposing for school cuts plus have a couple of million left over to send prisoners’ families to Mexico twice a year for visits. is ther anything unconstitutional about that? If so, it must also be unconstitional to send law-abiding, hard working Georgians’ jobs to Mexico in the name of “free trade”. Perhaps all that is required is a special clause in NAFTA. I’ll bet Mexico would be willing to make the money and Georgia’s children will be the benefactors.