This two-week recess of the Legislature to tackle the 2011 budget and a shortfall that’s likely to exceed $1.2 billion is an unprecedented situation certain to attract attention throughout the state.
How do we know?
Because Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle has given every Republican member of the Senate, over which he presides, an 18-page full-color collection of charts and talking points, with the title: “Budget Planning Session Messages and Themes.”
Writes the lieutenant governor to senators:
“…By prioritizing spending, cutting waste, and remaining true to our conservative principles, we will balance the budget in a fiscally responsible manner that makes our state the most attractive destination for new business and growth….
“I strongly encourage you to reach out to local elected officials, constituents, and media outlets over the next two weeks to communicate our share message on this issue.”
What’s missing is a barbarian-at-the-gates stand against taxes, fee hikes or revenue enhancements.
Here’s the closest Cagle comes to it:
“No single issue is more important in the 2010 legislative session than passing a balanced, fiscally responsible state budget. During the 2009 session, Senate Republicans filled a nearly $3 billion budget shortfall by cutting spending – not raising taxes.”
The federal stimulus cash might have also played a role in that balancing act, but let’s not quibble.
“Fiscally responsible” may be the key repeated phrase in Cagle’s talking points. That could be code for not selling off state assets at a Saturday flea market.
By the way, Cagle’s office tells us that no public funds were used to generate his talking-points pamphlet.
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