When the Georgia legislature goes back into session on April 12th, it will have only 7 legislative days to pass two extraordinarily important state budgets, the one of the rest of 2010 and the one for 2011. Rep. Calvin Smyre is not happy with Governor Sonny Perdue’s plans. He puts it this way in his report:
The governor’s proposal to cut health care funding is a continuation of the misguided strategies by the current administration and legislative majority in dealing with a state budget deficit that is now estimated at $2.4 billion for FY 2011. Previously, they cut another $281 million in Quality Basic Education funding from the 2010 supplemental budget and just last week ordered the Board of Regents to cut an additional $300 million from the University System budget for next year. Earlier in the session, it was revealed they will eliminate the back-to-school sales tax holiday, an initiative that helps working families and Georgia businesses and, according to studies, has a positive effect on state revenues.
It is most unfortunate that those in control of the budget process are shirking the state’s responsibility to educate our children and damaging our health care system without even considering proposals that would bring in hundreds of millions of dollars in additional revenue – without raising taxes. Several Georgia cities participated in a pilot program for the local collection of sales taxes and showed the state was failing to collect sales tax revenue that consumers were paying but was going unreported.
The state is losing up to $1 billion per year because the Department of Revenue in this administration has been unsuccessful in cracking down on sales tax cheating. Legislation that would authorize local governments to collect sales taxes and help make up for these losses has been stuck in committee since last year because of partisanship by the legislative majority. Meanwhile, the people of Georgia continue to suffer.