Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Upcoming Week

Now the real work begins.

After using last week for mind numbing briefings, the General Assembly reconvenes this week and gets down to bidness.

Walter Jones of Morris News Service has a quick, dirty rundown of items already in the hopper and just over the horizon.

The words on every lip is $2 billion. It's the budget shortfall and the indigestion it causes is already burbling from the twin irritants of taxes and cuts.

On the cut front, Governor Perdue wants to save $30 million by eliminating school nurses and Democrats are not happy about it. As with most hacking at the budget there are both practical and political considerations.

In this age of zero tolerance on our campuses, exactly how will a child get their medicine with no medical professional on site? But there it is again, $2 billion. Every time either Donkey or Elephants cries about some essential service, the budget will whisper, if not here then where?

There is also little doubt the hue and cry of the Democrats is also filtered through politics. Expect every Republican attempt to save personal pet projects to be met with derisive calls of "they'll pay for the East Fall Line Doodad but not for your sick child!"

It's also difficult to not hear the echoes of Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle's recent defense of the infamous Go Fish program as a small part of a large shortfall. He may see that Banquo's ghost at his dinner table throughout the session.

How bad is the shortfall? Republicans are talking about raising taxes.

Of course, they are saying it's not a tax hike - it's no longer funding a relief grant. But if a pig is rooting in your vegetables, it doesn't matter if your neighbor calls it a dog. When homeowners who've already paid their annual property tax open the checkbook to lay out an additional $200-$3o0, what do you think they will call it?

Also lurking in the shallow waters is transportation. On the heels of DOT Commissioner Gena Evans disturbing report that she simply ain't got no money, Cagle, Perdue and Richardson met to address our ever coagulating arteries. What may emerge is a fundamental restructuring of how we spend the transportation dollar.

There will still be the lunatic sideshows like stripper taxes, but the sausage grinder is about to rev to high gear. Better put your apron on.

1 comment:

Amber Rhea said...

Technically that's a strip club customer tax. There's already a "stripper tax" - the annual fee strippers must pay, per club, to be licensed as exotic dancers within Fulton or Dekalb County.