I’ve been talking with a friend of mine who has asked me to open a discussion on the current budget work going on in the General Assembly. He believes we’re not making clear the true budget picture and magnitude of the cuts the state is facing.
I’m still facing a huge backlog of posts, so I’m going to use his numbers here. Feel free to challenge, refute, clarify, or call total BS on them if you have other data, but his points are this:
1) The budget submittedd to the General Assembly by the Governor assumes a 4% growth in revenues, yet there is currently no evidence of pending growth. The difference if revenue is actually flat for FY 2011? About $400 Million.
2) Perdue’s budget assumes that the Feds will put between $300 and $400 Million of extra stimulus/aid money that has not yet been drafted, much less passed by Congress, and
3) Perdue’s budget assumes $300 Million of expenditures will be financed by a state bond package. I think this is fairly common, but it is something we used to complain about when we were in the minority party.
The significance of the above is that some members of the General Assembly believe they need to be preparing for an actual 2011 budget that is $1 Billion short of Perdue’s estimate of $18.2 Billion.
For comparison’s sake, let’s throw in what’s going on in Louisiana, where potential Presidential Candidate Bobby Jindal has proposed a 19% cut to his state’s budget, from just under $30 Billion to just over $24 Billion. An impressive cut, but Lousiana still has a budget with $6 Billion more spending than Georgia.
Lousiana has a population estimated at 4.4 Million. Georgia’s is 9.7 Million. Yet LA spends $6 Billion more. I’m wondering if the myth of “fat” in the Georgia budget that our leaders have run on for years is headed for the scrapheap. Running against government waste is easy when you’re a member of the minority party. Running an actual government is hard. And costs money.
Let’s get moving on zero based budgeting so we can actually determine the services Georgia needs to deliver, the most efficient way to deliver them and required costs, and then determine the most fair and effective way to tax ourselves to pay for the amount of government we need.