While not technically "in session" this week, the General Assembly convened Joint Budget Hearings to receive information from each Agency on the Governor's proposed Amended FY20 budget (the "little" budget) and FY21 budget (the "big" budget). The only two things the General Assembly must do during Session are to pass these two bills. Based on the feedback from legislators, this may be a difficult slog.
The Governor sets the spending limits for the state and drafts proposed Agency budgets for the House Appropriators. Most state agencies were required to reduce their budgets by 4% for AFY20 and 6% for FY21. Those cuts amount to reductions of $200 million for AFY20 and $300 million for FY21.
Kelly Farr, Director of the Office of Planning and Budget, indicated that he would not recommend raising the budget limit despite the passage of the Marketplace Facilitator bill last week. Farr also indicated that the House proposed .25 income tax reduction was not necessary. The rate cut would cost the state about $500 million. The Senate Finance Chair, Sen. Chuck Hufstetler (R-Rome) agreed with Farr this morning at a Georgia Budget & Policy Institute meeting stating "Right now, the revenue is not there for that (cut). I don't see the math there right now."
Next week the real work will begin as the House Appropriations Committees meet and make changes to the Governor's recommendations. Below are some of the highlights of the Governor's proposed budgets.