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Budget briefings start
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Gov. Sonny Perdue released his amended FY10 and FY11 budget recommendations to the General Assembly on Jan. 15. During Senate and House Appropriations Committee hearings last week, lawmakers heard presentations from state agencies regarding their individual budgetary concerns and the impact that can be expected in FY10 and FY11.     

In July, Gov. Perdue announced a $900 million reduction in the revenue estimate for the FY 2010 Budget due to the sharp drop in revenues the last six months of FY09. The 2010 amended budget presented by Gov. Perdue raises that reduction to $1.44 billion.  

2010 amended budget proposals
The FY10 Amended revenue estimate is 7.3 percent below FY09 actual revenues and 8.5 percent below the original FY10 general budget revenue estimate of $16.99B. The FY10 amended revenue estimate represents a 23 percent decline from the original FY09 general budget ($20.1B) proposed by Gov. Perdue just two short years ago. Gov. Perdue is now projecting a $1.44B shortfall for FY10.  

To combat this shortfall, Gov. Perdue has proposed an additional three furlough days for state employees and teachers, bringing the total to 6 for this fiscal year. This measure alone would save the state nearly $245M. For additional funds, the governor has chosen to liquidate $140M from the Other Post Employment Benefit reserve fund designated for the health benefits of future retirees. The budget also proposes to shift the State Health Benefit Plan to a cash basis using $67M in funds set aside for bills that are funded from “Incurred but Not Reported” (IBNR).            

Gov. Perdue has allocated an additional $92.8M to the QBE formula to fund K-12 enrollment growth of 0.67 percent. Although this is an increase, the governor’s recommended budget reduced the QBE formula by $188M for the six furlough days. This paired with a $281M across the board reduction brings the total QBE base funding to a -5.6 percent reduction, although partially offset by federal stimulus funds to local systems.  

The governor has called for a $9.7M reduction in Georgia’s school nutrition program and a $4M reduction to its Special Needs Scholarship Fund. Pupil transportation would also be cut by $24.7M and the Equalization formula would decrease by 4 percent or $17.5M.          

To meet increased growth in enrollments, the FY10 HOPE program includes an increase of $146,963 for the HOPE GED, $49.3M for the HOPE Grant, $2.1M for private school HOPE Scholarships, and $26.9M for public school HOPE Scholarships.  

Higher Education
The amended budget recommends a net cut of 7.76 percent to the Regents funding formula, a net cut of 7.48 percent to the Technical Colleges funding formula, and the elimination of the Guaranteed Educational Loans Program. From lottery funds, $33.7M would supplant State General Funds to finance the HERO Scholarship, Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership Program (LEAP), North Georgia Military Scholarship Grants, North Georgia ROTC Grants and Tuition Equalization Grants.

Medicaid, Peachcare and Public Health
Gov. Perdue has designated $20.3M in additional funds to the Department of Behavioral Health for state hospital improvements and $8.6M in state matching funds for private hospitals to assist in indigent and uncompensated care.  
The governor has also called for an 11 percent reduction in Low Income Medicaid, a 3 percent reduction to the Medicaid Aged Blind and Disabled fund, and a 9 percent reduction to Georgia’s Public Health Grant in Aid, generating the state nearly $90M in savings.   

The FY10 amended budget recommends the closure of Scott State Prison (closed August 2009), Bostick State Prison (May 2010), and the Bill Ireland Juvenile Facility (January 2010) for a total savings of nearly $20M.
Next week’s column will include a summary of Gov. Perdue’s FY2011 general budget proposals.

Jobs program for employers
The Department of Human Services (DHS) has received nearly $200M in federal stimulus funds to be put towards a temporary, subsidized employment program for 5,000 adults.  All families with dependent children and incomes of less than 300 percent of the federal poverty level (approximately $60,000 for a family of four) are eligible to participate.

Employers who choose to participate in this program will receive an 80 percent subsidy for employing adult workers for up to six months at minimum wage or above. The subsidy expires Sept. 30.

For more information regarding eligibility requirements please send all inquiries to:
Job Seekers:             

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