Hidden deep in the state budget was a provision to increase the reimbursement of the state’s portion for housing state prisoners in county jails. This is a cost burden carried out on behalf of the state by local counties. The actual cost for housing these state prisoners is $49 (in Chatham County). The state currently reimburses counties only $20 per state prisoner. Bi-partisan legislation was introduced in the Senate by Eric Johnson and Regina Thomas to raise the reimbursement to $30, but lowered in the House to $25 per state prisoner.
Governor Sonny Perdue vetoed this legislation. And in fact, when concerned citizens from Savannah tried to call his office and ask why, they were told they needed to pose their questions and concerns in writing.
What’s odd and should be somewhat concerning to all tax payers is that the state reimburses private prisons the FULL cost of housing state prisoners. Why can the state reimburse private prisons but not local counties for the full cost of housing state prisoners?
The State of Georgia should not be passing unfunded liabilities onto county taxpayers. Local taxpayers pay higher property taxes because of unfunded liabilities.