Five paragraphs into a piece on Georgia’s preparations for a drought of federal funds – if debt-ceiling talks in Washington collapse – Blake Aued of the Athens Banner-Herald has this calamitous line:
If the debt ceiling is not raised, unemployment checks could stop immediately….
But you can unwad that underwear. Brian Robinson, spokesman for Gov. Nathan Deal and the source cited for the above information, says it’s not going to happen.
“We’ve been given no reason to believe there will be funding disruptions. This is not a government shutdown,” Robinson said this morning. “We don’t think unemployment checks will stop immediately.”
Robinson said that the point he was trying to make is that programs that are jointly funded by federal and state governments – Medicaid and PeachCare, for instance – could be carried by the state for an extra two weeks in an emergency.
But unemployment checks, while administered by the state Department of Labor, are completely funded through the federal government.
“If there was a dramatic decline in federal funding available, we would have to wait for the Obama Administration to prioritize the bills and decide what to pay,” Robinson said. “We see no reason to believe that there’s any scenario where people would not get their unemployment checks.”
Last week, the state Department of Labor issued unemployment checks to 181,665 people for a total of $47.5 million, according to department spokesman Sam Hall.
In an interview with Rob Johnson on WGST (640AM) this morning, U.S. Rep. Tom Price, R-Roswell, strongly hinted that he’ll vote for the revised debt-ceiling/deficit reduction package pitched by House Speaker John Boehner – if he can be assured that House Republicans will be allowed to vote on a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced federal budget on Friday.
“Companioned with a balance budget amendment,” Price said, “That’s a reasonable course of action at this time.” The congressman, of course, added that the Boehner package doesn’t include as many budget cuts that he’d ideally like to see.
As many have suspected, the Atlanta Public Schools system may not be alone. From the Detroit Free Press:
One out of three public school educators report pressure from bosses, parents or others to change grades, and nearly 30% say pressure to cheat on standardized tests is a problem at their school, according to a voluntary Free Press survey of Michigan educators.
At schools that don’t meet federal standards, the tension is higher: About 50% say pressure to change grades is an issue, and 46% say pressure to cheat on the tests is a problem.
Some cave in — about 8% say they changed grades within the last school year, and at least 8% admit to some form of cheating to improve a student’s standardized test score.
From down in south Georgia, Sid Cottingham points one and all to this heart-breaking piece in the New York Times:
An image of the peach is on the official state quarter and its license plates. In Atlanta, where a giant peach drops from a downtown building each New Year’s Eve, a driver can get lost among all the streets with variations on the name Peachtree.
But here is the harsh truth: South Carolina has shipped out more than twice as many peaches as Georgia so far this summer. And it has been that way for years.
It gets worse. At the end of July, the University of Georgia will officially close its peach program. The head peach horticulturist left the job a couple of years ago. When budgets tightened recently, university officials decided to simply eliminate the position altogether. (Programs for blueberries and vegetables had to go, too.)
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider