The Georgia House of Representatives resoundingly overturned Gov. Sonny Perdue’s veto of the fiscal year 2007 amended budget Friday.
House members voted 163-5 to override the veto, which Perdue made during a Thursday night news conference.
“Our situation today reminds me of a Chinese proverb: ‘A man who cannot feed himself has one problem. A man who is full has many,’” Perdue said. “And that’s where I think we find ourselves with the ’07 budget.”
The $700 million supplemental budget also had a $142 million tax break for property owners, but Perdue said the House’s plan didn’t meet the state’s current obligations.
“The Georgia Constitution requires that the Legislature pass, and I sign,” Perdue said, “a budget ‘which shall provide for the appropriation of the funds necessary to operate all the various departments and agencies and to meet the current expenses of the state for the next fiscal year.’ It is my belief, that the FY07 amended budget that was transmitted to me today does not meet these constitutional requirements.”
The governor said the budget submitted to him does not fund necessary operations, does not meet the current expenses of the state and “does not meet the needs of Georgians.”
“This budget would lead to furloughs of literacy instructors and prosecutors, stopping cleanup of hazardous waste sites, halting health screening of newborns, letting up on Internet predators, leaving us unprepared for a pandemic flu outbreak and turning a blind eye to meth labs,” he said. “That is not going to happen on my watch.
“This budget does not meet the requirements of the Constitution, and that is why I am going to veto it. Right here, right now.”
Perdue also said his budget-writing team has tried to work with the legislature in crafting an amended spending plan for the rest of the fiscal year.
“Every year we work with them to get the best product, and in years past I have been impressed with the seriousness and conscientiousness with which they have approached this task, bringing ingenuity, creativity and new ideas to the table,” he said. But this year, we have a problem. It is a sad day when we come together having managed for four years, in lean times, and having done the people’s business so admirably — and then, when we come to the time when we can invest for the future, we can’t come to a mutual agreement on how to allocate Georgia’s resources.
“While the Legislature was considering this budget, I’m afraid politics got in the way of doing the right thing. I believe the House and Senate got into a bit of a brawl and realized too late that they were nearly out of time and had to come up with a compromise quickly. The budget process became more of a war than a respectful discussion. Unfortunately, the late night quick fix they came up with was the wrong solution for Georgia. I think many of the legislators realize that by now.”
Perdue threatened to call a special session if the House and Senate couldn’t get a budget done by Friday. The regular session was scheduled to end Friday.