My colleagues and I returned to Atlanta last week to participate in the joint budget hearings with the House and Senate Appropriations Committees. We heard from state agency directors and department heads who shared fiscal updates as well as their budgetary plans. Only after we consider the presented information and our citizens’ input does the legislature make any fiscal decisions for Georgia. Among other topics, the supply chain issues and forecasts for businesses are of great interest in the current economic environment. I’ll address these issues in this week’s newsletter and you can also watch the full presentation on YouTube.
We heard from the state’s economist, Dr. Jeffrey Dorfman, who provided an economic update and forecast. He shared that since the pandemic began, personal incomes have increased by 8 percent and overall Georgians have an extra $75 billion in accumulated savings. Consumer spending will be a top indicator of our economy’s direction this year. While an economic slowdown is likely, the odds of a recession in 2022 are very low, according to Dr. Dorfman.
As all of us are aware, we are seeing a decreased number of items on shelves and higher prices for goods. The shortages are partly due to the supply chain issues nationwide, and we are experiencing a significantly increased cost of transporting food and items to the stores. Optimistically, this problem could be solved later this year, but there are some models that show this may not even out until February 2023. Closer to home, we’ve heard of decreased operations at ports throughout the country, but the Ports of Savannah and Brunswick are faring much better than those in other states. We are certainly proud of the hard work that has gone into ramping up operations by workers and management at our ports.
After listening to discussions looking into the current and future economic projections, joint budget hearings concluded. Our House Appropriations subcommittees will begin to meet separately to review specific portions of the budget and delve deeper into the state agencies’ budget needs.
Since the Georgia Constitution requires the budget bills to originate in the House, each House Appropriations subcommittee will pass their respective portions of the current and upcoming fiscal year state budgets, which will collectively result in two complete budget bills to be approved by the full House Appropriations Committee. Then, each budget bill will go to the House Rules Committee to be scheduled for a vote on the House floor. After the budget bills make their way through the House, these bills will be transmitted to our counterparts in the Senate, where they will undergo the same process. As the House and Senate continue to work through the budget process, there will likely be changes to the governor’s original proposals, and I will keep you updated as these bills are finalized.
We will take up Local Reapportionment bills as well as an adjournment resolution that will decide our schedule for the remainder of Session. You can always watch the Session proceedings and various committee hearings here: https://www.legis.ga.gov/house. As we engage in the 2022 Session, please do not hesitate to call (404.656.5052), email, or engage on Facebook. If you would like to receive email updates, please visit my website to sign up for my newsletter or email me.
Jon Burns represents District 159 in the Georgia General Assembly, where he serves as the House majority leader.