In the midst of one of the worst economic crises in memory, the Georgia General Assembly has to make some extremely difficult financial decisions. I don't envy their job.
The news is not good for Georgia on the economic front. It seems sales tax revenue is down approximately 10 percent from February 2009, and last year revenue was down ... well, let's say they were way down and leave it at that for now.
April 1, 2010 is the deadline for accepting applications for homestead exemption for tax year 2010. Applications can be accepted year round but those received after April 1st will be applied to 2011 taxes. You can file at either of the two offices of the Tax Commissioner: (1) 11 North College Street in Pembroke or (2) 185 Richard Davis Drive in Richmond Hill.
As a child who wanted nothing more than to grow up and become a journalist, I used to write stories for and draw out my own homemade "newspapers" to distribute to my family on Sunday mornings at breakfast. I tried to design my publications based on what I thought each of my family members might want to read. Dad's "newspaper" was about sports and my younger sister's often featured reports on Strawberry Shortcake and her social circle.
For the past two weeks, the Georgia state legislature has taken a working recess to address our budget crisis. At issue are both the FY 2010 amended and the FY 2011 general budgets.
The crowd gathered behind barricades in barely contained anticipation - and in some cases adoration - Tuesday prior to President Barack Obama's arrival at Savannah Technical College reminded me of Beatle-mania way back in the 1960s, when four charismatic musicians from Manchester, England, forever changed America's rock music scene.
Editor's note: State Rep. David Casas, R-Lilburn helped write this column.
The budget was the focal point and our top priority last week. Although the General Assembly was not in session, our time consisted of attending and giving input during the subcommittee meetings of the Appropriations Committee.
I am up to my gizzard with our governor and Legislature and assorted bureaucrats stomping around in public education with little regard for the consequences of their actions. Example: One school system in the state has been considering allowing the police to bring Tasers into the schools to quell unruly students.
Editor's note: Carter (R- Pooler) is reporting each week during the Legislative Session. The session began Jan. 11, and is expected to last until the latter days of March.
The Georgia General Assembly adjourned last Thursday, after day 20 of the 2010 legislative session. The Assembly has decided to take a two-week break from the legislative session to work on the daunting task of balancing the Fiscal Year 2011 budget.
The body is a little frail and he walks with a cane but the man still has the look of a warrior. His name is Charles Ector. He experienced the uglier side of society and with dignity and determination took prejudice head on.
The House and the state Senate voted Thursday to adjourn the current legislative session until March 8 to allow Appropriations Committee members to work full-time over the next two weeks on the budget proposal for fiscal year 2011, which begins July 1.
A majority of the House of Representatives Thursday approved an amended state budget for the remainder of fiscal year 2010. Overall state spending is reduced by $1.2 billion to reflect that state revenues have declined for 14 consecutive months.
Day 14 (Feb. 8): As we head back into session today, we are greeted with the disappointing news. The January revenues are down 8.7 percent over those in January 2009. Combined with the losses from a year ago, this means January revenues are a whopping 23 percent lower than January 2008. More importantly, the governor's proposed amended FY10 budget called for a $1.44 billion shortfall with the expectation that the remaining six months revenues would be flat.
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