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Perdue signs budget into law
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ATLANTA — Gov. Sonny Perdue announced Wednesday that House Bill 119, the state’s FY 2010 budget, has been signed into law. The FY10 budget year begins July 1.

“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 Gov. 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 FY09 budget passed during the 2008 session of the Georgia General Assembly. Gov. 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 FY10 revenue estimate.

Gov. 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.