Perdue to veto Zero Based Budgeting?

We are hearing unconfirmed word this afternoon that Governor Sonny Perdue plans to veto SB 1, which would have allowed for the General Assembly to each year take a portion of the state budget and assume it to be ‘zero’ so that the entire budget for those departments under the microscope would have to be approved by the General Assembly – not just the proposed increases over the allocation from the previous year (as is currently the case).

Sounds like an excellent way to cut wasteful spending, right? Not according to Georgia’s Supreme Leader, who this afternoon is enjoying the hospitality of Fidel and Raul Castro in Cuba.

There are many, many advantages to zero based budgeting. It forces departments to justify every tax dollar that they spend and permits a greater examination of where that spending actually goes and the utility gained by the taxpayer for same.

And why would Perdue be against this? The word we’re hearing is that he already believes himself to be a champion of small government and an eliminator of useless state agencies. From his alleged view, he doesn’t need a law to tell him to do what he already thinks he’s doing.

Right. And he also wants to remind everyone to Go Fish, Georgia! Yee-haw!

How Sonny Perdue believes Georgia's Governor should be viewedBut what if future Governors in Georgia aren’t so fiscally wise? Perdue, we’re told, believes that ‘grassroots leaders need to focus on the Feds in Washington.’ In other words, the governing of Georgia shouldn’t be left to its citizens and those legislators who are sent to Atlanta, but we should just place blind trust in the Governor to be our Father Protector.

(Pictured, at right: How Sonny Perdue believes Georgia’s citizens should view their Governor – artist’s conception.)

Only an opponent of open and efficient government would be against SB 1. And, sadly, it appears Sonny Perdue is one.


  1. McDawg81 says:

    We can’t get rid of this clown and his cronies fast enough! This is ridiculous – who is he protecting?

  2. mitchmartin says:

    More indignant outrage!!! Whew, I don’t know about the rest of you, but I love it when Pete gets liquored up on a sunny Sunday afternoon. He must have planned ahead.

  3. View from Brookhaven says:

    I wouldn’t expect much different from Perdue.

    Do we have any of the Gov. candidates on record on this issue?

  4. NorthGeorgiaGirl says:

    Golly, we wouldn’t want to make these agencies justify their budgets and therefore their existence. What a crazy idea in financially perilous times…let’s just keep going the way we have been and wait until everything collapses before we try to curb some of this wasteful spending.

    Seriously, I am getting tired of his games. He needs to go fishing and move to Florida.

    • Jeff says:


      He bypassed FL and went straight to Cuba. Given his governing record, I’d say it is a place he is probably much more at home.

  5. Eureka says:

    On the surface ZBB sounds great, we build each years budget starting at zero with managers and agency heads having to justify each program. In reality it is not effective, practical or achieve the results given. ZBB has been around for over 30 years and all the research I have seen shows that it isn’t all that it is cut out to be.

    Instead we should be focusing on results, Georgia already uses Performance Based Budgeting or tries to with a small staff at OPB and at the agencies. Performance based budgeting is similar to ZBB, but is more practical and gives decision makers and budget writers more data to use in making decisions.

    It is unfair to call the Governor an opponent of small and efficient Governor, when his 8 years in office have been marked on making Georgia a well managed state. He has received much recognition for this and anyone who interacts with State Government knows this to be true.

  6. ByteMe says:

    The General Assembly usually takes until the last day to pass a budget. Why do you think adding to their workload is somehow going to turn out a better budget?

    It ain’t about zero-based budgeting. It’s not like they haven’t reduced budgets by nearly 25% over the past several years of low revenues.

    • Harry says:

      It would be nice if they’d reduced the budget by 25%, but it’s actually only been reduced 10%, and even that modest amount is suspect.

        • Harry says:

          “The full House and Senate approved the $17.9 billion budget on April 29, 2010, the last day of the legislative session.”

          That’s about 10% less than the revised 2009 budget.

          After annual increases of 10% for several years, I don’t see the problem with a 10% decrease during a severe recession. Matter of fact, a 25% cut would be more realistic.

          • ByteMe says:

            Wasn’t talking about the “revised 2009” budget, which was also lowered. Go back to the actual 2008 budget and you’ll see the decline that you’re trying to miss.

            • Harry says:

              You should be working from the revised budget.

              Also, in responding to me you referred revenue numbers, not the budget.

              • ByteMe says:

                The revised budget is what happens after the new legislature gets in there and sees what happened. You should look at the 2-year drop in revenues and spending — which are tied together — and not the January to April drop, which is what the diff is between the revised 2009 and the proposed 2010.

    • Jimbo says:

      Most of those cuts have come from the education system. With zero-based budgeting, there is at least the possibility that other departments would feel the pain as well, not just education (which happens to be one of the most important items in the budget).

      • Icarus says:

        Here’s another possibility:

        How much money is needed to fund the state crime lab properly? How much is the backlog there now? Why do you assume it (and everything else) needs to be cut?

        I’m for Zero Based Budgeting. But here’s a dirty secret from someone who does these models for a living.

        When you start with a needs/outcomes clean sheet of paper vs. the status quo model, the clean sheet of paper is almost always more expensive.

        What Georgia needs to do is decided what services the state will offer and then determine the most efficient manner to deliver them. I think ZBB is a good start for that. So is the sunset bill.

        But to assume that every agency is overfunded and contains huge amounts of fat is just as faulty of logic as that we haven’t solved the world’s problems because we haven’t thrown enough taxpayer money at it.

      • benevolus says:

        But this ZBB bill only applies to “no more than one-third nor less than one-quarter of all the programs” each year.

  7. jlw says:

    Arguing over the budgeting procedure is the wrong argument. The argument should be on the overall scope of government and whether or not programs/entities as a whole are core function of proper constitutional government.

    As a practitioner, such a budget procedure would take far too much away from doing what I am actually supposed to be doing to fulfill someone’s false idea of open government.

  8. Painterman says:

    Word is he will aslo veto SB148. The first part of the bill looks at if we need ot continue regulating so may private industries and it also would review all gov agencies every 8 years and see if they still are justified, could be done away with or if they could be combined with another agency.

  9. Life and Liberty says:

    Just curious:
    Once the bill passes, should the General Assembly NOT pass a zero-based budget, or should a member vote against a zero-based budget submission, what would happen?

    • benevolus says:

      It’s really only a reporting issue. They just want the report from the governor to have more pages.

  10. hannah says:

    Budgets are plans. All this focus on state planning is reminiscent on what was decried about the so-called “socialist” regimes. One would almost think that the conservative antagonism towards the “commies” was fueled by envy–a thought that’s confirmed by the sudden mania for fences along the borders.
    If there’s one thing we should have learned from Clinton and Bush/Cheney, it’s that plans and authorizations are meaningless since there’s no way to force the executive to carry them out.
    The problem with government spending isn’t how much money is spent; the problem is money spent with no tangible result. And planning is at the root of that. That plans to control the population and/or deprive them of their rights aren’t carried out is not a consolation.
    There are people who are firmly convinced that developing and following a good process (preparing plans) is all it takes to ensure the outcome of a particular endeavor will be good. I disagree. While it is virtually certain that a bad process will result in failure, many a good procedure has resulted in really bad results. The National Socialists in Germany provided ample evidence of that.
    Btw, I would go on to argue that it was the emphasis on the “nation,” rather than social support for individual persons which was the problem in Germany–that the individual is to serve the whole, not the whole serve the individual.
    In a true democracy, power flows up and responsibility flows down. The nation exists to serve the individual; not the other way around.

    • gopgal says:


      “The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.” ~Thomas Jefferson

      • benevolus says:

        James Michener and Will Shakespeare might argue, but they weren’t bloggers.
        But then again, neither was Jefferson.

  11. debbie0040 says:

    2010 may be the year Georgia really elects their first Republican Governor since Reconstruction… With his actions, it is clear Gov. Perdue has no future political plans….

  12. ZazaPachulia says:

    Umm… As it was previously mentioned, zero-based budgeting has been around for years and years. It was one of the cornerstones of Carter’s progressive, business-friendly four year term up on West Paces’ Ferry.

    It has its pros and cons. My pal Austin Scott is against it, and he’s the barometer of brainpower within the Georgia GOP (If Austin’s for something, it’s probably a good idea… if he’s against it, it probably isn’t). There are plenty of reasons not to implement zero-based budgeting: it’s expensive up front (hiring experts, re-training, buying new software, etc.), it requires all managers to be re-trained and it depends absolutely on the competence and ethics of those individual department managers.

    And what’s up with hating on Perdue for doing what Republican governor is supposed to do: promote economic growth, trade and dialogue with a major un-tapped commercial market floating just miles away from our ports in Brunswick and Savannah? This Cuba mission is real leadership. It’s impressive. The embargo should end and Sonny is doing the right thing.

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