State Legislator Calls For Suspension Of Session Until Sequestration Resolved

State Representative B.J. Pak of Gwinnett County has a post up on his facebook page questioning the wisdom of the fiscal cliff resolution and the additional 2 month delay of resolving sequestration and federal budgetary issues.  He openly questions how in this era of – say it with me – uncertainty that the legislature is supposed to be able to do it’s job:

“…I will withhold judgment until end of February to see if the spending cuts were worth the sacrificial lambs, but as a State legislator, I must ask Congress this:  By kicking the vote of the sequestration rule down to sometime in Mid-March and coupling it with the debt ceiling debate, how do you expect state legislatures to balance our budget by Day 40 without knowing how much the states are going to get for federal programs?  I suggest we convene, and then recess until they pass the budget, and then reconvene the session.”

He has a valid concern. The state legislature is limited to 40 business days and don’t have the luxury of continuously extending deadlines.  Every time a can is kicked in DC, it affects the state’s limited timeframe to determine what funds will and won’t be coming back from Washington as they try to plan a budget that runs from July 2013 to June 2014.  If there are cuts in funds to states that occur in February or March, the legislators approving a budget will have limited time to react.  If the can is kicked again….special session?


  1. I don’t know, couldn’t they assume a “worst case scenario” ie, the least possible amount of money from the Feds, and balance the budget that way? Alternatively, couldn’t they just assume that the amount of Federal $$$ is going to be exactly what is needed, and then call a special session if it’s insufficient?
    But I for one am shocked, shocked that we use Federal funds to “balance” our State budget.

    • Joshua Morris says:

      Ah, you know the drill. Uncle Sam bribes us with our own citizens’ tax payments to make stupid laws requiring us to wear seatbelts or do whatever else the control freaks want states to do.

    • The Last Democrat in Georgia says:

      Mr. Hassinger, you are right. The state legislature likely could just assume a worst-case scenario and balance the state budget on the assumption of receiving the least possible amount of money from the Feds, but doing so likely would not present as much of an opportunity for political grandstanding as State Representative Pak’s suggestion of recessing until whatever day (or year) that Congress gets it act together.

      Besides, based on the consistent results of their annual performances in which taxpayers’ time and money is often wasted for 30+ days and a bunch of bad bills are hurriedly passed into law in the few days (and hours) of the 40-day session, the Georgia Legislature pretty much already appears to be in a semi-permanent state of recess, anyway, even when officially in session.

    • South GA Bulldog says:

      Mike, most of the Federal dollars that you are referring to are tax dollars from Ga. We just want what we send to Washington sent back to us. It is not like we are asking for more Federal dollars, we just want them to send our tax dollars to us.

  2. saltycracker says:

    The many forecasts on investing being circulated all qualify their outlook with a big “IF” that few will read – like the one below from Fidelity Investments:

    “…….the legislation does not address larger budget issues such as deficit reduction, tax reform, or raising the debt limit. In addition, it delays the automatic cuts to defense and domestic spending for just two months.”

    “………risk assets like stocks, commodities and high yield bonds could do relatively well if long-term deficit reduction proves credible and growth picks up. ”

    If one thinks Congress will step up and reverse the deficit growth and/or tie spending to the GDP, the future is bright. The money we just spent on the campaigns and the efforts our legislators are making to get their side to the trough, suggest reallocation & deficit spending, not reductions. But again, the automatics in 60 days could get interesting.

  3. Bob Loblaw says:

    B.J. Pak is a helluva legislator and a great guy. But the office manager here at the venerable law firm of Bob Loblaw just got nauseated at the thought of a two month break during the Session! We’d be in until May! I love ya, B.J., but please don’t do this :).

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