The State Senate passed their version of the 2008 budget yesterday:
The Senate must now reconcile its spending plan with the one approved in the House. The plan, which passed 53-1, boosts funding by a record high $1.6 billion. That’s a 5.7 percent hike from the year before.
The House quickly disagreed with the Senate’s version, sending the measure into a conference committee. “It’s obvious the season of Lent is over, because the Senate is once again enjoying pork,” said state Rep. Ben Harbin, the House’s top budget writer.
_The Senate eliminated raises that the House had provided for supervisory officers in the Georgia State Patrol who had been left out of an earlier pay raise. The 100 state patrol cars provided in the House budget were reduced to 25 in the Senate version.
_The House had provided $40 million to reduce austerity cuts in the funding formula the state uses to pay operating expenses for schools. The Senate provided just half of that, which leaves the cuts at some $120 million.
_The Senate cut money for the Tour de Georgia bicycle race, reducing the $500,000 the House had provided to $100,000. The Senate erased the $100,000 the House had set aside for the Warner Robins Air Force Base Museum.
I’m truly disappointed that the Senate didn’t continue on the path of fiscal responsibility, but I believe most of us expected this. The Senator that voted against the budget deserves an award.