This week, we began to receive new and updated information on our state’s finances that will allow us to finish crafting the budget for Fiscal Year 2021 and complete this year’s suspended legislative session.
Tough decisions will be necessary as we carefully move forward in the process to revise and update the budget.
Fortunately, Chairman Terry England of the House Appropriations Committee has already been hard at work with his counterpart in the Senate, Chairman Blake Tillery, and conducted the first-ever video-conferenced Appropriations Committee meeting on May 7.
State Economist Jeffrey Dorfman shared with the committee that, although revenues in the state are down, the passage and prompt signing of the Marketplace Facilitators Act (which allows for the collection of online sales tax) earlier in the year would aid in our state’s swift recovery.
Office of Planning and Budget Director Kelly Farr participated in the committee meeting and shared sobering revenue numbers, and we look forward to working with him further to mitigate the negative impact of the COVID-19 crisis on our state’s economy.
We are grateful for Chairman England’s hard work and the work of members of the House staff who were integral in ensuring a smooth process for the committee members who participated virtually and the Georgians who watched from their homes.
Innovative solutions will continue to be important in conducting the business of the House over the upcoming months as we complete the session and pass a final budget.
Additional House Committee meetings may be conducted over video-conference in the upcoming weeks, and I encourage all of you to tune into them to keep informed about the budgetary process and other legislative issues that are being considered. Links to stream future House Committee meetings will be available on the House’s website at www.House.GA.gov.
Last week, I was honored to introduce Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black on a conference call with over 100 members of the Georgia House of Representatives.
Commissioner Black gave us a detailed update on the state of the agriculture industry in Georgia and what his office is doing to continue to support farmers and keep Georgia’s food supply safe and strong and answered questions submitted by legislators.
We were all pleased to hear that the Agriculture Department was expanding its public relations effort to encourage Georgians to “Buy Georgia Grown, Now More than Ever” to promote Georgia agriculture and working with UGA extension offices to connect Georgia consumers to Georgia agriculture producers in their area.
Visit www.GeorgiaGrown.com for more information and to find out how you can support Georgia’s number one industry – agriculture.
Park honoring Jack Hill
I am also proud to share my support of a piece of proposed legislation that will name Gordonia-Alatamaha State Park, a 662-acre state park located in Reidsville, after my friend, Senator Jack Hill.
Senator Hill and his wife, Ruth Ann, spent many hours in this park walking together and enjoying the natural beauty of the area. Senator Hill would be so pleased to know that he is being honored in this way, and we can think of no tribute that would be more fitting for a man who loved nature and his community so deeply.
Jon Burns represents District 159, which includes parts of Bulloch County in the Georgia General Assembly where he serves as the House majority leader.