Appointed Secretary of State Brian Kemp released the following statement shortly after the FY 2010 amended budget cleared committee by a 53 to 5 vote:
“The current economic situation and declining state revenues are forcing legislative budget writers and state agency directors to make very difficult budget choices that can have a significant impact on the necessary and critical services our state government provides to Georgia’s citizens.
“I commend former Secretary of State Karen Handel for the hard decisions she made during her tenure to streamline operations and make significant and permanent cuts to the agency’s budget. To meet the cuts mandated by the General Assembly and the Governor, she made the decision to eliminate positions, creating long-term budget savings, rather than achieve budget reductions through temporary furloughs.
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“I understand the concerns of our legislative leaders as they continue to face very difficult budget decisions and will continue to work as a collaborative partner with them as they draft the amended fiscal year 2010 budget.
“My personal preference to meet necessary budget cuts is streamlining operations and providing permanent budget reductions, rather than temporarily furloughing employees. Regardless of how it is accomplished, the agency is prepared to accept the recommended eight percent budget reduction, plus the reduction that would equal six furlough days.
“To demonstrate my support for our legislative leaders and the Governor, as well as the thousands of state employees and educators who are sacrificing a great deal during these tough budget times, I will voluntarily take six furlough days between today and June 30, 2010, the conclusion of fiscal year 2010, in addition to the mandated cuts. Georgians can be assured that even during these furlough days I will fulfill my duties as Secretary of State.
“I am proud of the leadership that has been demonstrated by our legislative leaders, former Secretary Handel, and Governor Perdue in these tough times. They have used a very difficult time to reprioritize state spending and maximize state services while keeping the tax burden on our citizens low. I will continue to support their efforts as best I can as Secretary of State.”