MOULTRIE -- At the end of his "accountability tour" of 20 Georgia cities, Gov. Sonny Perdue "talked straight" to a modest crowd on the courthouse lawn Friday at 11 a.m. on several high points of the legislative session.
"I do this, because I think democracy works best when people are interactive," said Perdue, who has attempted ethics reform in state government.
"Every legislator will tell you they're for ethics reform, but I haven't seen a bill on my desk yet," Perdue said, adding reform efforts were lost in a "murky, muddy committee system" of the House Democratic leadership. "They won't let it out, because they know it will pass. They know the people want it, and if we let it out, they would get it. And folks, I believe the people of Georgia ought to know who's paying money to influence legislation and to pass bills. ... You deserve to know, and we're going to keep on until we get it done.
At one point, the governor told the crowd, "People need to know they're in charge. In a democracy, ultimately the ballot box rules. It's a little like 'The Apprentice.' ... Each of you can be a Donald Trump in your own mind. At that ballot box, you get to do the hiring and the firing."
Perdue reported to his constituents that budget cuts were necessary. The alternative would have been higher taxes. The governor said the people of Georgia wanted the cuts.
"We didn't have enough money to do everything we wanted. It became a choice between the good and the also good," he said.
The governor called for a special session to balance the budget as is required by constitutional law. The day has yet to be announced. Perdue said the House didn't bring up a court fines and fees bill that would have plugged the holes in the budget.
He touched on the new child endangerment law, teacher raises, flexibility to go along with accountability already imposed at local levels in education and a strong school discipline bill under which a student can lose his driver's license if he gets in trouble at school and preserving the HOPE scholarship.
A recent release from the Democratic Party of Georgia said Perdue attempted to cut education spending by more than $1.2 billion while also trying to raise property taxes by $600 million. Perdue proposed $3,003,568 in cuts to K-12 education in Colquitt County this year, spokespersons said.
"Perdue's new day for Georgia is one of unfunded schools, higher taxes and a governor you can't take at his word," said Bobby Kahn, chair of the state Democratic Party.
The governor made a $180 million math error and got caught lying about the true state of Medicaid's funding, party spokespersons said. Twice he has tried risky accounting gimmicks to balance the state budget, which puts the state in danger of losing its AAA bond rating, they said. Also, he has changed the revenue estimate at least four times in three months, making the budgeting process tremendously difficult, they said.
Perdue said he hoped the widening project for Ga. Hwy. 133 makes it on the project list. Recently, he announced a $15.6 billion transportation package, half of which is going to areas outside of Atlanta to improve economic development, he said.
Three billion dollars of that initiative is in GARVEE (Grant Anticipation Revenue Vehicles) bonds which he previously deemed risky when the bonds were included in former Gov. Barnes' plan even after the Georgia Supreme Court ruled that Barnes' plan was legal.
This Week's Circulars
Kennon Keith Moore, 59, of Moultrie, passed away Sunday, October 17, 2021, at South Georgia Medical Center. Arrangements have been entrusted to Baker Funeral Home.
Effie Hart Crosby, 100, of Winter Haven, FL, passed away Thursday, October 14, 2021, at her home. Arrangements have been entrusted to Baker Funeral Home.
Patricia Ann Kile Copeland, 89, of Moultrie, died Friday, October 15, 2021, at her residence. Arrangements have been entrusted to Baker Funeral Home.
Betty Aldridge, 69, of Norman Park, passed away Tuesday, October 19, 2021, at Colquitt Regional Medical Center. Arrangements have been entrusted to Baker Funeral Home.
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