A possible legal challenge

Perdue may have set himself up for a legal challenge on the budget:

I have to admit that I am mystified by the governor’s sleight-of-hand with respect to his rescission of the veto.

Under what authority may the Governor “un-veto” a bill? The governor vetoed the legislation on April 19. There is no question that he vetoed the bill.

Article 3, Section 5, Paragraph 13, and Article 5, Section 2, Paragraph 4, of the Georgia Constitution outline the procedures for a veto. The latter section succinctly states that the “governor may veto, approve or take no action on any such bill or resolution.”

Nowhere in either section (or anywhere else I can find) does it say the governor can “un-veto” a bill. The former section explains the procedures that are to be followed once a veto is made, and none of those procedures include an option for the governor to “take it back.”

Moreover, the impropriety of the “un-veto” is shown by how it has no parameters in the Constitution or statute.

When is the latest he can un-veto? Can he do it while the Legislature is trying to override the veto? Afterwards? Two years later?

Can the Governor veto a bill, the go back and un-veto it and line-item out the part he disagreed with? Does it make the initial override legitimate?

Meanwhile, many fiscal conservatives are furious and left with unanswered questions.

15 comments

  1. Bull Moose says:

    I hate to admit it, but Jason, you have a very good point here.

    It’s just silly this stuff that’s transpired. Though, at least he recognized he made a mistake and is trying to correct it I guess. It sure is better than a special session.

    I don’t necessarily agree or disagree with the property tax cut. It amounted to about a $50 tax cut that was going to cost more to do than the actual benefit. It kind of had pure politics written all over it. It would have short changed the state government by sending out a cut that it could hardly afford.

    I mean, if we want to completely undermine our entire system of government we could cut taxes and run our entire state government into the ground, but that wouldn’t make sense to do. In a similar fashion, politicians in Washington have cut taxes by borrowing money from China and run up the deficit to astronomical levels. It’s just not fiscally responsible.

    True conservatives are smarter than that. I’m not saying that the Governor is a true conservative, because I don’t think he is, but at least he had the sense to realize the tax cut was a sham put forward by the fanatics in the State House.

  2. Bull says “It’s just silly this stuff that’s transpired. Though, at least he recognized he made a mistake and is trying to correct it I guess. It sure is better than a special session.”
    And “It amounted to about a $50 tax cut that was going to cost more to do than the actual benefit. It kind of had pure politics written all over it. It would have short changed the state government by sending out a cut that it could hardly afford.”

    What is about to follow is said with the utmost respect Mr. Moose as I know you are a Republican. I am glad to see that you recognize the Governor made a mistake vetoing the budget in the first place, however you seem to be simply towing the line of the McCainistas/Perdue 🙂 version of big government conservatism. The government knows better what to do with your money than you do, right? The cost of the mailout would not be very much and some creative thinking could have had it done for next to nothing. But when you don’t want to figure it out than it is not worth the trouble, right?

    As far as not being able to afford it, good grief man. The budget is up 24% in the last 3 years, we can definitely afford it and then some. Those fanatics you mentioned are the very people that gave us the majority in the House. And as for the political gain or when or how it was conceived is irrelevant. The point is if the State collects more than it needs it is our responsibility to return it to the taxpayers whether it is $500, $50, $5, or 50 cents.

    Jason nice points on the legality of the “un” veto. Not calling a special session was the only way to avoid an override in my opinion. If he had the votes to block the override then he would have called the special session. The problem he had was not just the House. Even if the Senate did not override the veto(which I don’t think was a foregone conclusion) they still would not have approved $142 million more in spending for him. Remember they were the one’s to pull the funding for the projects in the first place. His “fiscally responsible action” of putting the money in the reserve was not what he wanted, what he wanted to do is spend the money. Let’s not forget that fact.

    As Republican’s we must aggressively pursue a meaningful conservative agenda which includes: lower taxes, less government, personal responsibility, and liberty and justice for all.

  3. Cracker says:

    What is wrong with this statement?

    “I don’t necessarily agree or disagree with the property tax cut. It amounted to about a $50 tax cut that was going to cost more to do than the actual benefit.”

    If the government of Georgia has gotten so large that it takes more than $50 to put a check in the mail due to bureaucracy we should scrap the entire system and start over. I realize that postage is going up, and yes it takes a couple of cents to print the check but come on how does giving $50 back to a taxpayer cost $50+?

  4. Jason O says:

    With all due respect to Representative Davis, I think the general consensus around the state is that the $142 million tax cut was a great step forward to fiscal conservatism, but sending the checks back in the mail stinks of an over-politicized plot to make the voters feel like the Republican Party is looking out for them.

    If the legislators were really serious about saving Georgians money while exercizing fiscal conservatism and fiscal responsibility, they would put the $142 million into an account that can’t be spent, would gather modest interest, and be credited on next year’s property taxes.

    Sending out a check was an overt political move to try to prove to the citizens of Georgia that the House was the more fiscally conservative body.

    Of the conversations I have been witness to, (which are by no means backrooms with movers and shakers), most of the county officials have stated that their systems are not set up to “give money back” to property owners. I don’t recall the exact numbers, but the estimates I heard put the cost of mailing the checks to property owners in the neighborhood of 3 million dollars. In addition to this, the local governments would have to spend additional money on system upgrades and staffing just to make the refund work.

    I think the citizens of Georgia are smarter than you give them credit. We will not be fooled by a check in the mail signed by the Georgia General Assembly. We know that all is not well and money is being spent on ridiculous projects while there are major issue being avoided. Sending a check for $100 is enough to make most people mad that the state was so inept it couldn’t even agree to spend the money it had already taken from us.

  5. Bull Moose says:

    I agree with you Jason O.

    And Rep. Davis, their are unfunded liabilities.

    I am all for tax cuts when the state has met it’s responsibility. But when you continue to pass unfunded mandates and pass the costs of them on to local governments, that’s not fiscally responsible, it’s not conservative, and it doesn’t even make sense.

    You can’t unfund the responsibilities of government, pass the buck to cities and counties, and then pass a tax cut and call yourself a conservative. The math doesn’t work.

  6. bowersville says:

    The Government should “put the $142 million into an account that can’t be spent.” What account is that? The only way the Government won’t spend the money is it remains with the tax payer or is returned. It’s not the governments money.

    “You can’t unfund the responsibilities of government, pass the buck to cities and counties” while you have lard on your hands and bring the pork back to Savannah.

  7. Unfunded liabilities? These are made up entitlements that should never have been funded in the first place. The real question is what is government responsibilty. You need to take a good look at the budget and determine if we are meeting our governmental responsibilities. The budget is fat, really fat, dont fool yourself into thinking everything in there is “needed”.

  8. Cracker says:

    “Unfunded liabilities? These are made up entitlements that should never have been funded in the first place” – Rep. Davis

    So you’re saying QBE was fully funded and there were no austerity cuts in education OR education is a made up entitlement program that should not be funded.

    Could the $142 mm go toward not having taxes raised due to the State legislature not funding education according to the formula it set up to do such? Oh yeah, because the government makes up the rules they do not have to follow the rules they can change the rules.

  9. No Cracker I did not say that. I did not refer to the QBE at all, but you bring up another good point. There has been a lot of work done on IE2 to find a way to fix the funding formula which is flawed. I think(not positive of the actual number) the austerity cuts this year totaled $105 mill however the number you should focus on is the almost $9 Billion on education(not counting higher ed)! I dont want to get into a long debate about education funding but ask yourself this, why is it we are funding the Tour de Georgia, and all these museums and Hall of Fames while we still have austerity cuts to education?

  10. jsm says:

    “I am all for tax cuts when the state has met it’s responsibility. But when you continue to pass unfunded mandates and pass the costs of them on to local governments, that’s not fiscally responsible, it’s not conservative, and it doesn’t even make sense.”

    Somehow I don’t think the $142 million would ever have been spent on useful programs. I keep hearing references to “windfall” and “slush fund” when looking into the supplemental budget through the years. It seems to me that some legislators were looking forward to bringing home the bacon with that money and that the governor was excited about a PR program for Georgia’s fishing opportunities. The first I ever heard about furloughs for adult literacy teachers and DA staff was from James Mills about a month ago. Why can’t the reserve fund be used to keep these people on the job?

    I hope the GOP majority will make this an opportunity to fix the budget process and the overall perception, created by 130 years of Democrat control, of the purpose of tax revenue.

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