Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Lawmakers leave Capitol Armed with Budget Numbers.

House Majority Leader Jerry Keen

State Lawmakers are heading home for a long weekend. They'll spend part of it combing through Governor Perdue's budget recommendations and will field calls from worried constituents.

House Majority Leader Jerry Keen from St. Simons says he's already heard from his grandson's school nurse and his tax commissioner. They're not happy with proposed budget cuts to education and the elimination of the homeowner tax relief grant to local governments. Without those grants some homeowners could pay 2 to 300 dollars more in property taxes. Keen says he wants to find a way to preserve the grants but warns that it will not be easy.

"It has to be a cooperative effort between both the legislative and the executive branch," he says. "Without that I don't know how to get there unless we have wholesale closure and shut down of departments."

Keen warns that Georgia's 2 billion plus budget shortfall will be felt throughout the state. Lawmakers will begin Budget hearing next Wednesday. One lawmaker warned that if the budget were a patient it would not be a question of whether to amputate or not, but rather which leg to take off.

-By Susanna Capelouto

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