Your morning jolt: Final mid-year budget deal was out of sight — literally

The Legislature breezed through one of its major hurdles on Monday, giving final approval to a mid-year adjustment to the state’s $18 billion budget that will provide schools with an extra $83 million for additional students.

From my AJC colleague James Salzer:

Scene from a protest of cuts to the HOPE scholarship -- in advance of today's Senate vote. Johnny Crawford, jcrawford@ajc.com

Scene from a Capitol protest of cuts to the HOPE scholarship -- in advance of today's Senate vote. Johnny Crawford, jcrawford@ajc.com

The chambers agreed on a spending plan that runs through June 30 after adding $13 million to help fund the Morehouse School of Medicine, which made a last-minute plea to lawmakers for extra money. In total, Morehouse and the Mercer School of Medicine, another private medical school, will both get about $21 million in state funding this year.

But the details of the final negotiations are murky. For the first time in anyone’s memory, there was no House-Senate conference committee to hammer out – in public – the final disagreements. The matter was settled privately, out of view of people who like to take note of the bargains struck.

Senate President pro tem Tommie Williams and a spokesman for Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle both said this was because there was so little disagreement between House and Senate versions that appointment of a conference committee wasn’t worth the bother. A spokesman for House Speaker David Ralston said something similar.

But one suspects that there is more here than peace and harmony raising their rarely seen heads in the Capitol.

It is also significant that Cagle did not exercise one of the sole remaining powers left to him by Senate Republicans – appointment of a three-person conference committee. One wonders who would have been on it. And who wouldn’t have.

Suspicion is that all were eager to avoid that fight until the very last days of the session.

***
Former U.S. House speaker Newt Gingrich on Monday confessed to the Des Moines Register that, yes, he and his team bungled last week’s announcement that he planned to begin raising money to explore a 2012 candidacy for president:

“I wish we had been a little more structured last week. But I don’t take it as a very serious problem. We do many, many things, and most of them reasonably well…

“We live in an age of 24-7 constant surveillance of really smart people, and every once in a while something ragged will happen to every single campaign,” Gingrich said. “And I think the real trick is to relax, live it out and keep moving.”

***
Sens. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., and Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat, on Monday launched their campaign to convince the public that the mere trims now under discussion in Congress will do little to address the $14 trillion national debt.

Democrats would have to accept large holes in the social net. Republicans would have to swallow – well, let’s call them revenue enhancements. From the Washington Post:

“None of us have ever voted for a tax increase, and I don’t intend to,” Chambliss said Monday. But the tax system is “way out of kilter,” producing $1.1 trillion in revenue in 2009 while giving away $1.6 trillion in deductions and other breaks, he added. “We can do it in a fair and reasonable way and . . . actually lower rates and at the same time raise revenues.”

…At the same time, the effort is also attracting strong supporters. This week, Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, the leaders of Obama’s fiscal commission, are launching their own campaign to promote the Gang of Six talks. And despite reluctance at the White House to engage publicly on the issue, Bowles said in an interview that the president has named Vice President Biden as his “point guy” on the talks.

***
Democratic activist Amy Morton of Macon, formerly the voice of Georgia Women Vote, has launched a new blog that will address Southern Democrats as a whole: Cotton Patch Politics.

Her operating slogan comes from Matthew 28:11, as interpreted by the late Clarence Jordan: “Come to me, all of you who are frustrated and have had a bellyful, and I will give you zest.”

***
Last week, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed paid a visit to Chicago, and in an interview with WBEZ radio, was asked if he had any advice for Chicago’s mayor-elect, Rahm Emanuel. Said Reed:

”Overcommunicate. I’ve given 180 speeches since I’ve been mayor. So, you have to constantly explain what you’re doing in every format and it helps get you through.

“It’s not enough that you’re in the office reviewing data that makes sense. You’ve gotta be willing to go into living rooms, barbershops, [and] neighborhood meetings to the point that you sound like a broken record and explain to people wherever they want to be explained to.

“You gotta keep explaining it in real time and you have to put yourself in a forum where the person says ‘Hey, I saw that guy. I saw them stand up somewhere for 30 or 40 minutes and be questioned directly.’ That’s the world we’re in. People like access to information, they like to see, touch and feel people, and personal contact is how you win the day.

“If you go out and do a bunch of hard things and don’t overcommunicate, you’re going to feel a backlash that comes from a lack of understanding. If you’re doing the right thing, sit there in the living room for two or three hours and explain it.”

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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56 comments Add your comment

deegee

March 8th, 2011
9:46 am

“We live in an age of 24-7 constant surveillance of really smart people, and every once in a while something ragged will happen to every single campaign,” Gingrich said.”

Something ragged happened, as if he had no control over it. What a sociopath, and he’s not as really smart as he thinks he is.

Raquel Morris

March 8th, 2011
10:02 am

Ummm, yeah. I’m sure Rahm Emanuel, a top aide in the Clinton White House, investment banker, former Congressman and Obama White House Chief of Staff can do just fine with out Kasim Reed’s advice. Eyeroll.

findog

March 8th, 2011
10:07 am

As we have been informed by the state’s GOP overlords that legislation like final budgets and Sunday Sales of legal products does not need to take place in open public forums the people of Georgia should embrace this and with an eye on fiscal efficiency reduce state government to just the Governor, Lt Governor, Speaker of the House, and Senate Majority Leader; think of the savings and lack of ridicule we would face from our annual forty days legislative derangement

findog

March 8th, 2011
10:12 am

Dear Newt,
Yes, everyone but Jesus can be bested by really smart Monday Morning Quarterbacks. The trick is to not look so amateurish and be tied to a financial web so complicated that in the two years you have planned to get rid of President Obama you could not simply state your intention to save us all on the date prescribed by your team. Best of luck

Aquagirl

March 8th, 2011
10:15 am

When asked about his revolving door of matrimony, Newt said his life “has had problems,” as if his life was off divorcing women and banging mistresses while he was an unaware innocent, distracted by unwavering public service. Now, when he makes a bizarre misstep in his coy little flirtation with the press and public something “ragged…happened.”

Boy, he loves that passive, uninvolved voice when he’s screwed up and doesn’t want to take responsibility. And people are actually admitting they’d vote for this 4 year old in a grownup’s body?

Centrist

March 8th, 2011
10:26 am

As the Taxed Enough Already (TEA) party, Republicans, and Libertarians say – spending is the problem as government grows unrestrained. And Chambliss is right – our tax system is a gross patchwork where an untaxed underground economy exists. But Republicans did nothing about this under Bush. Democrats turn a blind eye.

Watch this to see where we are heading: http://www.prisonplanet.com/the-television-commercial-about-the-national-debt-that-is-being-banned-by-major-networks.html

khc

March 8th, 2011
10:36 am

budget deals behind close doors nothing new, but what was agreed to needs to be published….if not, so much for transparency

td

March 8th, 2011
10:50 am

Aquagirl

March 8th, 2011
10:15 am

“And people are actually admitting they’d vote for this 4 year old in a grownup’s body?”

And the worst part is that he still would be 100 times better than what we have in office today.

Travis McGee

March 8th, 2011
11:03 am

If the ol’ boys who are elected because their last name is (R) could match their campaign rhetoric by cutting $100 billion from the military budget. It would accomplish their purposes and would only be missed by the Military Industrial Complex.

Sick&TiredOfTheGOP

March 8th, 2011
11:08 am

LinkReport this comment.td

March 8th, 2011
10:50 am
Aquagirl

March 8th, 2011
10:15 am

“And people are actually admitting they’d vote for this 4 year old in a grownup’s body?”

And the worst part is that he still would be 100 times better than what we have in office today.

@ td – YOU LIE!

double

March 8th, 2011
11:11 am

TD what you and lms state are only your opinions.Now with some logic give me 100 ways mr newt would br better than pres obama.

td

March 8th, 2011
11:32 am

double

March 8th, 2011
11:11 am
TD what you and lms state are only your opinions.Now with some logic give me 100 ways mr newt would br better than pres obama.

And all the Obama supporters post are facts? I do not plan on supporting Newt or Sarah in the primary. I think the media has just about spun their negatives up so high to the dumb masses that they can not overcome them to defeat Obama.

I only have to give one reason why Newt would be a better President than Obama. Newt is not a socialist/communist and Obama is. Nothing else should matter but, unfortunately, we have way to many people in this country that wants their entitlements and has a bad case of wealth envy.

Aquagirl

March 8th, 2011
11:37 am

td is right—-Newt would be a way better president! A new first lady every week would keep the White House fresh and exciting.

the original and still the best John Galt

March 8th, 2011
11:48 am

Gingrich is a fascist from the right, and The Messiah is a fascist from the left. Gov. Wallace was right- about a dime’s worth of difference.

No Dog in this Hunt

March 8th, 2011
11:49 am

My early leanings are away from Obama and away from Newt. I like the pramatist from Mass., Romney. No one is perfect but Romney at least sees the problems and is willing to work on the solutions. I don’t see that from too many of the fiscally conservative candidates.

Travis McGee

March 8th, 2011
11:54 am

You can line ‘em all up from Gingrich to Huckabee to Romney and every one inbetween and “there ain’t a dog that’ll hunt amongst ‘em!”

Keep looking and you may end up with McCain and Joe the Plumber.

Centrist

March 8th, 2011
12:02 pm

Gingrich is only angling for either a V.P. spot or an appointment. Even though he is very smart and articulate, he has waaay too much baggage to win the nomination. Even with his big ego, he has to know it. His pandering to Iowa farmers with ethanol support to gain early gravitas will hurt him in all the other caucuses and primaries. Look for him to quickly drop out and endorse a likely winner to get the appointment he really seeks.

TrishaDishaWarEagle

March 8th, 2011
12:13 pm

I for one have no problem voting for Newt , his personal life is of no concern to me. I assume everyone thought Jimmah Cawtah had an exemplary personal life and look what a total POS he was as a president. Hussein, for all we know, never cheated on Michelle (although the story from the beginning of Another brick in the wall pt2 does to mind….public ridicule ..beatings…fat psychopathic wives and what not) and look what a horrible president he has been.

Truth Squad

March 8th, 2011
12:16 pm

Well Saxby, Warner and the so-called Gang of 6 are just full of posturing for the Tea Party types. Poll, after poll, after poll has shown that the voters don’t want to mess with SS or what little is left of the safety net. People also want the rich and non job producing companies to pony up on the revenue side.

Slowly but surely, the public is becoming aware that the Republicans aren’t about jobs and they aren’t really about the deficit which isn’t as big an issue as people claim, but can be substantially addressed without hurting teachers, police, firefighters,students, children, the poor, the sick, the unemployed, or busting unions and anyone else who is already suffering.

Btw..the latest polling has President Obama leading named Republican candidates like Huckabee by double-digits in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. Conventional wisdom use to say that Republicans win control of the Congress, but the way they are going, it will all be in play and if President Obama wins a landslide again, all bets are off as to who will control the Congress.

Fake and fringe “conservatism” as practiced by Republicans and some Democrats has peaked. People now know that handing over $$$ to campaign contributors in the form of tax cuts and tax code and regulation changes doesn’t produce jobs, balance state or national budgets, or address the concerns of the bottom 90% of households. Meanwhile the distractions about gay marriage, abortion, and the usual continue to occupy the agenda.

deegee

March 8th, 2011
12:18 pm

LOL! If Newt becomes our president we won’t be able to afford all of the White House china.

Greg

March 8th, 2011
12:22 pm

I just heard that the low taxing republicans are about to screw the rest of the state with the stupid useless emissions testing across the state to beef up the states bank accounts, and you poeple voted these tax and spend on the rich republicans in.

Aquagirl

March 8th, 2011
12:24 pm

Trisha, you may not be concerned about Newt’s personal life, but he’s plenty concerned about yours. He’s so worried you’re not smart enough (like him) to make your own decisions, he’ll help you with some laws. Isn’t that nice of him and his hypocrite Republican buddies?

TrishaDishaWarEagle

March 8th, 2011
12:30 pm

Aqua, thats what politicians do..try to run our lives..thats why I vote for the ones who at least say that government needs to be much much smaller and much much cheaper.

SpaceyG on Twitter

March 8th, 2011
12:33 pm

Mayor Reed practices exactly what he preaches. He’s always available and always out there. Somewhere. (Chicago too it seems!) And will talk, in-depth, about our many complex issues and ideas to whomever, whether you’re Joe on the street, a Pulitzer winning journo from the AJC, a yappy TV news type looking for a quickie SOT, or a blogger like me. His office staff no doubt hates this about him as it’s scheduling-havoc, but he will stay and listen and answer questions until there is no one left in the room. No matter if you agree or disagree with him on the issue at hand, his accessibility is 100% impressive. And powerful.

I Know You Are But What Am I

March 8th, 2011
12:33 pm

Until the righties admit that Bush the President was an abject failure, both to America and to the Republican Party, and that the Republican Congress from 1994 – 2006 was an abject failure, both to America and to the Republican Party, I cannot listen to any of them claim that one of their nominees will be 100 times better than Obama.

As if we already forgot why you got your butts kicked out of office in the first place.

Alabama Communist

March 8th, 2011
12:40 pm

Nothing like the old Republican saying…” Out of Sight and Out of mind”

Mike

March 8th, 2011
12:41 pm

I hope the Mayor walked around Chicago and was like “Wow, I wish Atlanta was like this”. How about we begin with repaving the streets, fixing the sidewalks, and burying all the powerlines?

Centrist

March 8th, 2011
12:43 pm

Bush and the Republican Congress did a poor job – no doubt. But Obama and his Democrat Congress did even worse, and that is why the House already went back to the Republicans and the now toothless Senate is going to go back to the R’s in 2012.

We are doomed to lurch from the two bunches of politicians who are only concerned about getting elected, helping themselves and their cronies.

I Know You Are But What Am I

March 8th, 2011
12:51 pm

Centrist

I agree with you as to the reptilian nature of both parties. On the other hand, the right’s hatred of Obama for basically following in the footsteps of George W. Bush is disingenuous to say the least.

stives

March 8th, 2011
12:53 pm

Our forefathers are turning over in their graves; and I know there is a God, I am asking him to help all of us. Money have destroyed many of our lives; for some they have to much, and millions have to less. We are pricing ourselves right on out of the limits of how much is to much. Our homes, businesses, families and this country is caught up into to much of unpleasant situations where it hard for just one person to stop and think that we can do a better job handling the finance of America. Once this happen, america will start to grow. The economy is the people putting money back into it; with such funds, things dry up and jobs are now the reason. ONe person out of job affects everyone of us; and when we start firing people (calling it a lay off) that is even worse. Every Congressmen needs to realize that all of the bills they are introducing is not saving not one person or one business; how much can you take from tax payers…how much have you actually given to the needs of american citizens who have worked and paid taxes all of their lives and in this economy; the cry outs are many, yet, no congressman or representative is hearing them. The sound of help has linger for the last two years; and while we give billions to other countries; we do not give anything to our own suffering citizens right here in america. We all should be enbrassed at our government for looking out for others instead of its own! The day will come when America people are not treated that way. How do you all feel?

Centrist

March 8th, 2011
1:11 pm

Obama went WAAAY beyond Bush’s domestic spending and AIG bailout. The huge amount of added debt he piled on will have repercussions for decades.

And what triggered this horrendous recession was the Democrats (Frank and Dodd) who gutted Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac lending rules that led to the housing crash.

Sick

March 8th, 2011
1:14 pm

So how much will our taxes go up for the state screwing up the tx returns recently? Guessing this is why they now have to can hope and tax smokers and what not. Good god I hate politicians and this country.

MiltonMan

March 8th, 2011
1:19 pm

Reed & Rahm – two peas in the pod.

deegee

March 8th, 2011
1:23 pm

Republicans controlled all three branches of the government between the years 2002 and 2006. During those years George Bush ran around the country touting the high rate of home ownership under his watch. Wall Street knelt prostrate at the altar of the bubble blowing Alan Greenspan. But the recession is all the fault of Barney Frank and Chris Dodd. I can always tell when someone gets their opinions from Fox News. They sound just like my 85 year old mother who watches Fox News all day long in the retirement home.

MiltonMan

March 8th, 2011
1:23 pm

Libs bashing Newt seem to forget about Ted Kennedy, Gary Conduit, etc.

I Know You Are But What Am I

March 8th, 2011
1:26 pm

Yes, Centrist, it continues to amaze me how 2 minority representatives in a Republican Congress under Republican leadership were able to surrepticiously engineer the events leading to the housing crash.

Dissemble often?

MiltonMan

March 8th, 2011
1:27 pm

Yet another campaign promise that Obozo lied about: Closing Gitmo.

I Know You Are But What Am I

March 8th, 2011
1:31 pm

Milton Man

Libs don’t need to bash Newt. Cons do a fine job of it on their own.

BTW…if your party wants to take the high ground when it comes to morality and “family values”, then the proof is in the pudding.

God knows how much pudding Newt has tested over his married years.

I Know You Are But What Am I

March 8th, 2011
1:33 pm

I get it now.

Obama closes Gitmo, you whine incessantly about his capitulating to the terrorists.

Obama keeps Gitmo open, you whine incessantly about his breaking a campaign vow.

You can’t lose, can you?

Centrist

March 8th, 2011
1:38 pm

It was a Democratic Congress since 2007 before the recession hit. Rules for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were so loosened by Congress led by Frank and Dodd for subprime lending without employment or asset verification that mortgages and the housing market was doomed to failure.

Pretending it was Bush or Republicans is pure revisionism – but that is what partisans do.

Michael

March 8th, 2011
1:40 pm

Americans have been hoodwinked, for the past 100 years or so. Everyone thinks they are middle class and refuse to take government handouts. I say all you conservatives head down to the local social security and welfare offices and ask for a check. Then you can get some of you tax money back.
Why spend your lives making $18K to $35K per year and lie to yourselves that you are middle class, that you have “made it” and that the poor are losers who are too lazy to improve themselves You ARE the poor.
Now come on over to my law office and buy a bankruptcy and a divorce. Thanks.

I Know You Are But What Am I

March 8th, 2011
1:45 pm

Centrist

Let me get this straight: you are blaming the 2007 collapse of the housing market on the 2007 Congress? You are telling me that Barney Frank and Chris Dodd manipulated the rules in 2007 and they immediately caused the collapse?

And then…AND THEN…you say that anyone who disclaims your lunacy is a revisionist historian?

Centrist, you are certainly not a centrist. You are in the middle of something, obviously, but not in the middle of the political spectrum.

No, you’re a centrist in a lie.

Centrist

March 8th, 2011
1:59 pm

The Democratic Congress of 2007 was elected in 2006. Frank and Dodd had been pushing for years to stop “redlining” and open up unsustainable borrowing – and they got their wish. The recession started soon after.

And yes, I am a centrist on non-economic issues. Anti-interventionist, pro-choice, and opposed to the Republican attempts to make our nation a Christian theocracy.

Lottery Smottery

March 8th, 2011
2:10 pm

@ Centrist

How do you feel about plutocracies, like Georgia?

Centrist

March 8th, 2011
2:16 pm

All of our states and federal government has always to some degree been a plutarchy. Both political parties rule that way – but class warfare where the non-taxpayers vote for more largess at the expense of taxpayers is dooming the American dream.

GaBlue

March 8th, 2011
2:23 pm

GaBlue

March 8th, 2011
2:24 pm

I thought Georgia was a Hypocracy.

Last Man Standing

March 8th, 2011
2:25 pm

Centrist:

You are, of course, correct with ragard to Frank and Dodd. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac caused the building bust but you’re getting nowhere with “Who Am I”.

There are none so blind as he who will not see.

td

March 8th, 2011
2:35 pm

I Know You Are But What Am I

March 8th, 2011
1:45 pm
Centrist

Let me get this straight: you are blaming the 2007 collapse of the housing market on the 2007 Congress? You are telling me that Barney Frank and Chris Dodd manipulated the rules in 2007 and they immediately caused the collapse?

The bubble in the housing market was caused by the Community reinvestment act (1977) under Carter. It was then “enhanced” in 1993 (under Clinton and before Newt). This so called “enhancements” included forcing banks to loan money to people that were at high risk of defaulting. The banking industry did not want to take on all this risk and therefore invented the derivative scheme to break up mortgages into smaller pieces and buy and sell them to decrease risk. The Bush administration saw this huge problem and went to Frank and Dodd in 2007 to try to change it before the bubble busted but they refused.

Now are the Republicans totally blameless? No, they knew what was going on and would not change it either when they were in charge. Let us lay the blame where it should be. The liberals wanted housing to be an entitlement and pass the act that forced banks to make bad loans and the banking industry found a way to reduce their risk and make a ton of money so their Republican friend did nothing to stop the problem.