The plot thickens…

Legislators are plotting against Perdue:

A week after Gov. Sonny Perdue slashed the state budget they approved, frustrated House and Senate leaders quietly got together at a St. Simons Island resort to consider taking a drastic and historic step: calling themselves back into a special session.

Once leaders of the Republican majority had gone over their options, they called in a few Democrats to test their interest.

“I think the sentiment in the House is strong — and I think it’s strong in the Senate, too,” said House Rules Chairman Earl Ehrhart (R-Powder Springs), who attended one meeting of top House and Senate leaders. “Their loyalty was rewarded with a knife in the back from the governor.”
[…]
However, senators were angered both by Perdue’s May 30 veto of 41 bills and his decision to strike language put into the state’s $20.2 billion budget directing how money should be spent. By doing so, Perdue essentially told state agencies they can ignore the directions of lawmakers. Some legislators felt the move was an attempt to make the General Assembly powerless to decide how state money is spent.

“There are some larger issues that need to addressed about the balance of power and the constitutional right of the Legislature to participate as an equal partner in the process,” Johnson said.

Ehrhart said calling a special session “is really the only avenue we have if we want to be relevant in the appropriations process as a Legislature.”

33 comments

  1. Bull Moose says:

    Well, the legislature should show some leadership and move swiftly on the idea. There would be much support for this.

    The Governor’s actions seem irrational now in light of the impressive revenue numbers.

  2. griftdrift says:

    Only one wrinkle. I believe for the legislature to call the session themselves, they need 3/5th vote in both houses. Will they have the votes?

  3. eehrhart says:

    I agree Bull Moose

    This segment is particularly relevant:

    Were books cooked?

    House leaders are reticent to get out in front on the idea of a special session without support from the Senate because they were burned by the chamber when they overrode Perdue’s tax cut veto.

    However, news last week that state tax collections skyrocketed last month – leading to speculation that Perdue’s administration cooked the books in April to justify vetoing the tax cut – only hardened the positions of some lawmakers.

    Perdue used slow revenue collections in April as one of his reasons for vetoing the tax cut. However, some lawmakers say the governor’s administration manipulated the April figures by delaying the cashing of income tax checks that month. Income tax collections were down 24 percent in April over April 2006. They jumped 45 percent in May.

    “If it were to come out that the revenue numbers were manipulated, I think it would affect the actions that the Senate took,” Johnson said.

    The above was an excerpt from the story the original of which ran several days ago.

    It is patently obvious the “books were cooked” to justify the tax relief veto and all citizens should be outraged.

  4. Samuel says:

    Mr. Chairman,

    Citizens are outraged. Do the right thing. Call yourselves into special sesison and vote a large tax refund plus override many of those vetoes!

    If evidence does show the “books were cooked” – then the Governor should be impeached!

  5. Federalist says:

    How many roads are going to be built on Sonny’s “farm” as consequence to these appropriations?

  6. Bull Moose says:

    Mr. Chairman, I’m weary of huge tax cuts UNLESS the state is truly solvent and meeting its obligations. The issue of prison reimbursements is a great example of the state passing the buck to the local communities and causing higher property taxes.

    It’s having a GROSS effect on Chatham County.

  7. Jason Pye says:

    The Governor should be impeached anyway. He was in office two days before he imposed one of the largest tax increases in Georgia history. Some fiscal conservative he is.

    Rep. Ehrhart,

    I urge you and your colleagues to call a special session and investigate the actions of Sonny Perdue.

  8. Trackboy1 says:

    Wait a second: “if we want to be relevant in the appropriations process…”.

    Is Earl mad about Sonny Do nixing the tax cut, or having legislative pork nixed?

    I’m not hearing “we must valiantly fight for the taxpayers $142 million with every thing we’ve got”. I’m hearing “how dare the guvna take away the spoils of the majority party”. We’re in power, and we want our pork.

  9. Holly says:

    Jim resigned his senate seat to run for U.S. Congress before qualifying, so I’m not sure his stance would be important, seeing as though he’s no longer part of the state legislature.

  10. He resigned after tucking tail on the budget.
    Out of fear for Perdue and Cagle.

    After voting to increase the state budget
    More than $1,000,000,000 in the last three yrs.
    He claims to be a conservative who wants to cut taxes?
    He is nothing but a yes man for the politicians.
    That’s probably why ABH didn’t endorse him.

    He is a conceited politician who thinks the war is not an issue.
    He wants amnesty, “Lot’s of ways to make them legal.”

    He’s nothing but another crooked politician.

  11. Misunderestimitated says:

    Trackboy:

    The “relevant to the budget process” has to do with the gov essentially saying to the legislature, you can put money into departments, but you can’t tell “my executive branch” how to spend it.

  12. Erick says:

    Bill, I’ve deleted your comment. We’re pretty flexible with the comments here, but I think the invective hurled at Rep. Ehrhart goes too far.

  13. Bill Simon says:

    Perhaps for the language, Erick, it was.

    But, Earl is an ignorant buffoon when he claims that the “Governor had to have cooked the books”, when, in order for THAT to happen, it would mean Revenue Commissioner Bart Graham would have been in on the book-cooking.

    Had the Idiot Named Earl Ehrhart actually followed the story, he would have read the part from Graham where he said that checks weren’t deposited in time to be reflected in the timeframe of cashflow they were originally looking at.

    If personnel not depositing checks on time constitutes “book cooking,” then Earl Ehrhart is a flaming moron who should go back and re-take lessons from his hero Anthony-Scott Hobbs on Better Bullshi**ing advanced coursework.

    And, just in case people have forgotten about the inane acts of sheer stupidity from Earl, let me list them:

    1) Upon the day of the GOP taking over complete control of the Georgia House, what is Earl Ehrhart’s FIRST act of demonstrating that the GOP is going to be an agent of change? Why, he drops a bill that changes the name of Sanford Stadium to “Vince Dooley Stadium” and, fights for said bill with the gusto Mark Burkhalter showed when he tried to cram the AGL Resources free pipeline cost down the taxpayers’ throats.

    2) THEN, not satisfied with demonstrating how big of an idiot he is, Earl took to intruding (in what would be described as standard operating procedure from a DEMOCRATICALLY-CONTROLLED House) into the operation of the Cobb County School Board (a separatedly elected, autonomous government entity) by insisting they redraw school districts.

    3) And now, we have Earl jumping on the hysterical bandwagon of shouting “Na-na-na, the Governor cooked the books! We’re going to have a special session to fix him!”

    What an idiot.

  14. I Am Jacks Post says:

    MartinLutherStreet,

    I’m not surprised you’ve hijacked yet another thread to turn it into one of your misguided Whitehead rants. And you’re still too much of a coward to indicate your candidate of choice (you seem crazy enough, so I’m thinking it’s Broun). Your digs are growing old and tired and no one gives a damn about what you have to say, so give it a rest. Or at least save your invective for a Whitehead or 10th District thread.

    We’ll save a seat for you at the Whitehead victory party, you smug piece of shit.

  15. Misunderestimitated says:

    Bill:

    The special isn’t “because” the books were cooked. It is because of the gov’s naked power play.

    We all know you don’t like elected officials over reaching for more power. Esentially the governor has taken the position that the legislature gives departments big pots of cash, but they can’t tell them how to spend it.

    For years the legislature has directed how money is to be spent. The governor’s position is that the legislature doesn’t have the power or authority to direct spending.

    If that’s the case, what’s the point of the legislative budget process. Sonny’s position is that all the money is his to spend as “he” sees fit.

    That is obviously a naked power grab.

    BTW, according to the State Constitution, all local government entities are creatures of the Legislature. Therefore it was well within Ehrhart’s sphere to require the Cobb School Board to redraw lines.

    Finally, your point about the Revenue Commissioner is true, but they knew they were slow in depositing the checks. Go back and read Sonny’s statement, his concern was continued slowing in tax collections. He and his staff were aware of the backlog in deposits,as he had “consulted with” the Revenue Commissioner, yet he chose to pretend we were in a tight budget to add legitimacy to his veto.

  16. eehrhart says:

    “Books were Cooked” is an expression which I think apt.

    I make no representation about who misrepresented the numbers for convenience only that it came from the executive branch to justify the veto of a legislative enactment.

    The facts are simple and the obvious spike in revenues is impossibly convenient. I also think outrageous is apt to describe what was done. We will just have to wait and see what further investigation turns up.

    I would be interested to see what the lawyers and citizens on this site actually think of the Attorney General memo use by the Gov to back up his authority to be the sole appropriator in state government. I link to a copy here:

    http://insideradvantagegeorgia.com/MEMO.pdf

    It seems to me that if he takes one postion on vetoes he cannot redirect funds from line items, but if if takes another he can redirect but not veto some items. I think he may have boxed himself. Anyone care to comment?

  17. LongTimeListener says:

    Chairman Ehrhart is dead on. Revenue doesn’t fall by 24% one month, and then magically increase 28% the next, unless
    a) the Governor’s incompetent staff can’t get to a bank to make a deposit, or
    b) the Department was taking a long time to deposit the checks, and no one from the Governor’s office was smart enough to ask ‘Wow, why is revenue down so much’, or
    c) the Department did what they were told by the Governor, thus the books were cooked

    Considering how convenient
    the revenue ‘shortfall’ was for this corrupt Governor, I think it is obvious that it was b) or c).

    And Bill, not depositing those checks is EXACTLY how the staff would have ‘cooked the books’! The IRS clearly gets more checks than the state, and my check to the feds got deposited quickly.

    I want to thank Chairman Ehrhart and our legislative leadership for standing up to the Governor on the budget issue. It is incredibly brave for Ehrhart to not only confront the Governor, but to come on an open forum like this and be attacked by no-nothings with an agenda. Governor Perdue is morphing into Hugo Chavez. He is not a dictator, he is a mediocrity, and this state will be better off when he is gone and we have someone, anyone, competent in that position.

  18. Three Jack says:

    recall Sonny! I agree with Jason.

    During the special session, there should be a resolution introduced to express ‘no confidence’ in the executive branch with Sonny in charge.

  19. Misunderestimitated says:

    I agree with Ehrhart’s interpretation of the AG’s memo.

    Sonny, can’t have it both ways.

    I say do a special or sue. Those seem the likely choices. My preference is for the legislature, as the representatives of the people, should work their will before we bring in the judiciary.

    Also, if there is a suit, I think it has to be filed in Fulton County Superior Court which is a crap shoot at best.

  20. Bill Simon says:

    Longtime Listener,

    Apparently, you’ve never worked in business and understood this arcane, whacked-out concept known as SEASONALITY of cashflow.

    Revenue CAN and DOES change from month-to-month based on the seasonality of the particular month and/or season.

    If you and brainiac Earl Ehrhart will recall, the DUE date for payments was actually 2 days beyond the nomal April 15 date this year. Which meant that for anyone who mailed in their taxes on the due date, the Revenue Department didn’t physically get the checks until later than normal.

    Apply that concept to a million returns being shoved through the system at once, and, yes, I can easily see why checks did not get deposited in the “usual time” required for them to show-up in monthly reports.

  21. Bill Simon says:

    But, of course, people like Earl don’t have to worry about concepts like business cashflow. All he needs to do is file his expense reports.

  22. Redcatcher says:

    Our governor is on a power trip. I would like to see him get off his high horse.
    Earl is a good man, good father, and good legislator. I really would like to know where you get your information that he is what you say he is.
    Is is not Earl or Glen who has created this situation. Is this the governor’s work or is he getting some bad information from his staff? Is he for the people of Georgia or is feeding his ego more important?

  23. Bill Simon says:

    Red,

    Where do I “get my information?”

    BOTH the AJC AND the MDJ followed Earl’s pursuits regarding the school board crap last year. What hole were you in?

    AND, Earl’s actions on his whining about changing the name of Sanford Stadium were well publicized up and down this state.

    But, I guess you’re one of those folks who can just “look in the eyes of someone and know their soul” types, eh?

  24. LongTimeListener says:

    Bill,

    Revenue is measured month to month. If the Governor had CARED, he would have simply asked the children he has hired “Hey, is this a shortfall, or is this a problem with getting the checks deposited because of the date that taxes are due this year?”

    He either never asked, was too stupid to know this was a potential issue, or was corrupt enough to know that a bad revenue report supported his false contention that revenue was down and he could not support a tax cut.

    Either way, the legislature and their leaders are right. The governor vetoed a TAX CUT (and Bill, I thought conservatives and Republicans are for those) because he said revenue was down. He either lied or is a moron. You pick. Either way, Ehrhart and the legislative leadership is right on this issue.

    Bill, I don’t know what your personal issue with Earl Ehrhart is. But if you want to support a Governor who has advocated tax INCREASES, vetoed tax cuts, and signed budgets that have increased spending by huge amounts, then go right ahead.

    Bill, as for the fight with the Cobb School Board last year. Earl did what his district wanted him to do. He fought against race based programs. If you want government making decisions based on race, then you go right ahead and support quotas and affirmative action. Those of us who believe in a color blind society will move forward.

    Just don’t bother pretending to care about those issues ever again. In the mean time, why don’t you just leave alone those of us, like Chairman Ehrhart, who actually care about these issues alone. We’ll continue the fight against a dictatorial Governor.

  25. Bill Simon says:

    LongTimeListener,

    With regards to the property “taxcut”Perude vetoed, it turns out that he was correct in doing so.

    Quite underreported is the fact that our state’s county commissions would have been the ones required to return that money…and, they had several MAJOR obstacles to perfomring that duty:

    1) they do not have the IT infrastructure in place to simply issue a “refund check.” So, it would cost upwards of 3 times the amount of the refund to reporgram the system to kick-out refund checks.

    2) But, the major problem is if someone who paid property taxes last year from House A, and in the interim, sold House A and moved to another county, OR even in the same county, how the f*** is the county commission going to be able to FIND that taxpayer and refund the money to them?

    NO, the House and Earl were WRONG on the issue and the Governor was right. Because…why? Like MANY things these folks try to do, they are completely IGNORANT
    on how things must be implemented in the actual context of their “legislation.”

    I thought I inferred pretty well as to my “personal issue” with Earl, but, perhaps you are as big of a Bubba-Gump as he is, so, I’ll ‘splain it to you:

    For years, the Democratically-controlled House spent tons of taxpayer dollars on proposing and passing inane legislation for their egoes.

    What happens when the GOP gains control of the House? Why, Bubba-Gump Earl Ehrhart proposes (with a press release announcement to the world) that the state legislature approve a bill to change the name of sanford Stadsium at UGA to “Vince Dooley Stadium.”

    What a complete waste of freakin’ time for Earl to exercise his petty power march to (mostly) get back at President Adams for not hiring Dooley back as head coach.

    What a complete demonstration that the GOP is no smarter or wiser than the Dems we just beat to gain control by that one act of ego-enhancement by Earl Ehrhart.

    Yeah…that’s what we should have our “esteemed” legislature spend their time on…renaming football stadiums…wow…what’s next? How about if we get the legislature to re-name I-285 to the Earl Ehrhart Highway of Going Nowhere Fast?

  26. ~2Cents says:

    Does anyone else get tired of this bickering? It seems one or two people are bent on airing their personal grudges and it really takes away from what is normally a good discussion of ideas, issues and policy.

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