The Senate has unveiled their version of the 2007 supplemental budget:
That’s one day after House budget writers sent over their own version of the $19.4 billion budget – the latest major step in a standoff in which they’ve accused Senate leaders of grandstanding and the Senate has called House spending unnecessary pork-barrel politics.
[Senate Pro-Tem Eric] Johnson said the Senate plan – an update of the fiscal 2007 budget – pays for emergencies like tornado damage in south Georgia and shortfalls in the state’s PeachCare insurance plan for poor children – but puts strict limits on other new spending.
“This is not a political play,” he said, flanked by more than a dozen other senators, including two leaders of the minority Democratic Party. “This is a play on the principles the Senate has been fairly consistent on in the past five years.”
Senators said about 80 percent of the plan’s spending goes to health care and a required update to funding for public schools.
It also puts $20 million into a reserve fund that the state keeps in case of tough economic times in the future.
Gone in the Senate version is the $13 million Gov. Sonny Perdue wanted for his “Go Fish” tourism proposal and the $20 million he was seeking for land conservation grants. Also axed: House-backed spending on pet projects such as $5 million for the National Infantry Museum Project in Columbus and $1 million for the Tour de Georgia bike race.
However, Majority Leader Tommie Williams confirms the complaints of House leadership:
Senate leaders have said that they’re not necessarily against all of the House spending, but that the so-called supplemental budget should be devoted mostly to emergencies and is not the place for it. The supplemental budget uses excess tax collections to fund state operations until the June 30 end of the fiscal year.
“Many of these projects are very good projects – they’re good for economic development; they have community support,” said Tommie Williams, of Lyons, the Senate’s Republican Leader. “We intend to give these projects full consideration in the ’08 budget, which is where we believe they should be placed.”
They’re not ok now…but they could be ok in the next budget? I’m in complete agreement with the Senate about stripping out pork spending and I applaud that effort, but if you’re just going to throw it in the next budget it seems very pointless.