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Governor Signs State Budget
Wednesday, 13 May 2009

May 13 – Governor Sonny Perdue today announced that House Bill 119, the state’s FY 2010 budget, has been signed into law. The FY10 budget year begins July 1, 2009.

“Cutting the budget has forced a number of difficult decisions, but we have managed the state in a thoughtful, conservative way to ensure Georgians are receiving value for their tax dollars,” said Governor Perdue. “We have maintained triple-a bond ratings, saving the state tens of millions of dollars, and funded our top priorities to ensure the basic responsibilities of state government are being met.”

The $18.6 billion FY10 budget is $2.5 billion less than the original FY 09 budget passed during the 2008 session of the Georgia General Assembly. Governor Perdue began reducing agency spending in the FY09 budget last summer, and submitted significant budget cuts in both the Amended FY09 and FY10 budgets to the legislature in January. The Governor revised the revenue estimate during the session, accounting for further reductions in tax collections and the availability of stimulus funding in certain state programs.

The FY10 budget includes $23 million for trauma funding, the first consistent funding of state’s trauma network approved. Increased fines on dangerous driving behaviors will finance the first sustainable source of funds for trauma in the state budget. Major reforms of state government passed this year, including the transformation of the Department of Human Resources, the creation of an Aviation Authority, and the first major alteration to the way that the Department of Transportation does business in decades – all are revenue neutral and will result in better service for taxpayers.

The Governor also signed 13 bills this year that either extend current tax exemptions or provide additional tax savings to citizens and businesses in Georgia. Many of these bills were already evaluated and calculated into the FY2010 revenue estimate.

Governor Perdue also issued three line-item vetoes and 12 agency directives to ignore intent language included in the budget. The budget is an appropriations act, not general law, and therefore intent language is non-binding. As the language is non-binding, the Governor may authorize agencies to utilize funds subject to non-binding intent language in accordance with the overall purpose of the appropriation and within their general law authority. Vetoed items and messages regarding non-binding information language to disregard are included below.

Line-Item Vetoes by the Governor

Section 33, pertaining to the Department of Natural Resources, page 222, line 507.1 and 507.100:

The General Assembly appropriated $25,000 in state general funds for the Georgia State Games Commission. State funding for this program is not justified, as the intention of this funding is inconsistent with the mission of the program. Therefore, I veto this appropriation.

Section 50, pertaining to State of Georgia General Obligation Debt Sinking Fund, page 316, line 397.261 BOND:

This language authorizes the appropriation of $22,700 in debt service to finance projects and facilities for the Herty Foundation, specifically for the Herty Advanced Materials Development Center to design and construct a covered biofuels testing facility through the issuance of $250,000 in 20-year bonds. The State of Georgia issued $2,000,000 in bonds for the Herty Foundation to fund renovations and equipment of which remains a balance of $900,000. Of this balance, $250,000 can be redirected to fund the design and construction of the testing facility. The need for this appropriation, therefore, is not evident at this time. Therefore, I veto this language (page 316, line 397.261) in the provisions relative to Section 50 State of Georgia General Obligation Debt Sinking Fund and the state general funds of $22,700.

Section 50, pertaining to State of Georgia General Obligation Debt Sinking Fund, page 320, line 397.605 BOND:

This language authorizes the appropriation of $145,280 in debt service to finance projects and facilities for the University System of Georgia, Board of Regents, specifically to acquire and renovate strategic property for Darton College in Albany, Dougherty County through the issuance of $1,600,000 in 20-year bonds. The Albany Museum of Art is housed on this property. Due to current economic conditions, the museum will remain at this location, which will delay sale of the property to Darton College. Therefore, I veto this language (page 317, line 397.605) in the provisions relative to Section 50 State of Georgia General Obligation Debt Sinking Fund and the state general funds of $145,280.

Intent Language Considered Non-binding

Section 15, pertaining to the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, page 44-45, line 174.98:

The General Assembly seeks to instruct the department as to the operation of the Adult Developmental Disabilities program. This language dictates a matter controlled by general law and is therefore null and void.

Section 15, pertaining to the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, page 45, line 176.98:

The General Assembly seeks to instruct the department as to the operation of the Adult Forensic Services program. This language dictates a matter controlled by general law and is therefore null and void.

Section 15, pertaining to the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, page 47, line 177.98:

The General Assembly seeks to instruct the department as to the operation of the Adult Mental Health Services program. This language dictates a matter controlled by general law and is therefore null and void.

Section 15, pertaining to the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, page 53, line 188.98:

The General Assembly seeks to instruct the department as to the operation of the Direct Care and Support Services program. This language dictates a matter controlled by general law and is therefore null and void.

Section 16, pertaining to the Department of Community Affairs, page 62, line 57.4:

The General Assembly seeks to appropriate $175,000 in OneGeorgia funds for the Communities of Opportunity grants. The use of OneGeorgia funds is directed through, and requires approval by the OneGeorgia Board and cannot be appropriated through the legislative process. The department should disregard language to fund Communities of Opportunity grants through the OneGeorgia Authority.

Section 16, pertaining to the Department of Community Affairs, page 62, line 57.10:

The General Assembly instructs the Department of Community Affairs to transfer two rural economic development positions to the OneGeorgia Authority. The use of OneGeorgia funds is directed through, and requires approval by, the OneGeorgia Board and cannot be appropriated through the legislative process.  The department should disregard language to transfer two rural economic development positions to the OneGeorgia Authority.

Section 16, pertaining to the Department of Community Affairs, page 66, line 61.9:

The General Assembly seeks to appropriate $121,153 in OneGeorgia funds for the Rural Development Council. The use of OneGeorgia funds is directed through, and requires approval by, the OneGeorgia Board and cannot be appropriated through the legislative process. The department should disregard language to fund the Rural Development Council through the OneGeorgia Authority.

Section 16, pertaining to Payments to OneGeorgia Authority, page 68, line 65.2

The General Assembly seeks to instruct the OneGeorgia Authority to transfer funds for implementation grants for the Communities of Opportunity program to the Department of Community Affairs. However, the use of OneGeorgia funds is directed through, and requires approval by, the OneGeorgia Board and cannot be appropriated through the legislative process. The department should disregard language to fund Communities of Opportunity grants through the OneGeorgia Authority.

Section 16, pertaining to Payments to OneGeorgia Authority, page 68, line 65.3

The General Assembly seeks to transfer two rural economic development positions to the OneGeorgia Authority. The use of OneGeorgia funds is directed through, and requires approval by, the OneGeorgia Board and cannot be appropriated through the legislative process.  The department should disregard language to transfer two rural economic development positions to the OneGeorgia.

Section 16, pertaining to Payments to OneGeorgia Authority, page 68, line 65.4

The General Assembly seeks to transfer funds for the Rural Development Council.  The use of OneGeorgia funds is directed through, and requires approval by, the OneGeorgia Board and cannot be appropriated through the legislative process. The department should disregard language to fund the Rural Development Council through the OneGeorgia Authority.

Section 17, pertaining to the Department of Community Health, page 96, Two Language Paragraphs:

The General Assembly seeks to direct the department to implement a direct bill system for collecting the employer share of premium costs for the State Health Benefit Plan, effective January 1, 2010 and further directs the department to calculate the employer contribution rates utilizing specified percentages of payroll. While this is the general intent of the executive branch, this language dictates a matter controlled by general law and the Board of Community Health, and it is therefore null and void.

Section 22, pertaining to the Department of Economic Development, page 124, line 110.8:

The General Assembly seeks to earmark $98,325 for the Bainbridge Welcome Center within the Tourism program. The department is authorized to utilize these funds to identify the highest-need projects on a state-wide basis in accordance with the purpose of the Tourism program and the general law powers of the Department.

 
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