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Revenues slow down for December
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The first negative month in 18 months showed state revenues for December at a -1.2 percent.

Total revenues were $1.53 billion, compared with $1.55 billion from December 2010. Individual income taxes were down -1.3 percent. Net sales taxes for the state totaled $402 million for a gain of 7.5 percent. Motor fuel taxes were up a total of 6.5 percent, with sales taxes up 17.8 percent and excise tax collections down 6 percent. Corporate income taxes were down -17.3 percent for the month. Tobacco taxes were up 16.1 percent, but alcohol beverage taxes continued a decline showing -14.4 percent.

Year to date

As of December, with half of the FY2012 year gone by, total revenues are up 5.2 percent, or 4.06 percent if adjusted for earlier explained events. Individual income taxes are up 7.1 percent, or 4.94 percent if adjusted. Sales taxes are up 5.4 percent year to date. Motor fuel taxes are up 6.1 percent overall YTD with excise taxes down 7.3 percent and motor fuel sales taxes up 18.6 percent. Tobacco taxes are up for the six months at 15.4 percent and alcoholic beverages are down 13.4 percent YTD. So, everyone will be waiting and hoping that Christmas sales are as good as portrayed in the press as they will show up in January’s tax report.
Gov. Deal’s budget proposals address top issues and state needed

Gov. Nathan Deal presented his 2012 amended and 2013 general budget proposals to the Legislature this week and focused on major state needs and issues.


The 2013 budget includes enrollment growth funds of some $58.6 million to fund 0.36 percent growth in K-12 schools. He proposes to fund a reading mentor program to help insure children successfully reading by the completion of the third grade. His budget allows for 10 additional days for pre-K schools that will mean the schools are within 10 days of the original school year. There is also additional funding for school nurses.

Higher education

Technical colleges and Regents institutions will receive a combined $111 million to fund enrollment growth. Bonds for equipment, renovations and new structures will total $291 million.


He has also proposed $20 million in the amended and general budgets for the OneGeorgia rural economic development program. A top feature of the governor’s budget proposal is $45.7 million for the state’s continued support of the harbor-deepening at the Port of Savannah. 

Water supply

The governor has included $25 million for water supply projects statewide.

Proposals based on recommendations of the criminal justice reform council

Gov. Deal proposes $10 million be spent on a system of post-conviction Accountability Courts, which have proven successful in changing long-term behavior, reducing recidivism and keeping non-violent offenders out of jail where there is a good chance of success. $1.4 million will be allocated to hire new parole officers to supervise prison inmates released after serving a completed sentence.

Keeping the state going with investments in people

There is additional funding for Medicaid and PeachCare growth and for restoring cuts to providers. The continued implementation of the agreement with Department of Justice will require some $29.8 million for mental hospitals. The continued proper funding of retirement systems will require some $65 million in both budgets.

This column will return to the FY2012 and FY 2013 budgets for a more detailed review in the coming weeks.

Passed by the Senate, heading to the governor
SB 184 - The school boards can no longer use seniority as a primary or sole determining factor in reduction in force lay-offs.
SB 38 - Restores to the state school superintendent the authority to hire and dismiss any employee at the Department of Education. The state Board of Education can override the state school superintendent with a two-thirds vote. The bill also increases the state school superintendent’s authority to enter into contracts from $50,000 to $250,000. It is similar to authority of other agency heads.

Passed by the Senate, heads back to the House
HB 253 – Allows the commissioner of Public Safety, to sell or trade vehicles and use the proceeds for the purchase of new vehicles for the department.

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