This week, the State Senate will begin its debate over the budget proposals for the 2013 and 2014 fiscal year.
Washington’s inability to work together on the fiscal issues our country faces including, our budget, the debt ceiling, and fears of a defense sector sequestration have left many Georgian voters with a malaise when it comes to the government spending their money.
With so much uncertainty in Washington it is more important than ever that our state is self-sufficient and can provide for the needs of Georgians by trimming unnecessary spending and shoring up vital programs to the growth and prosperity of our state - like the HOPE program and Medicaid.
The budget appropriations process often becomes a way for individual parties to provide campaign contributors and companies’ perks and incentives at the cost of social and state programs which are already sorely underfunded. The state could barely find the money to keep the lights on at the state archives and came very near to shuttering them last year.
While I understand that the budget is tight, you can’t seriously expect me to believe we should be the only state in the nation without a public archives to ensure that Caterpillar receives a 15$ million dollar tax break on-top of multiple other incentives to build a new factory here.
This isn’t to say we should disincentivize companies bringing work to Georgia. But corporate tax breaks don’t need to be prioritized over our social and community programs which also provide needed services to many Gwinnettians.
While I support Governor Nathan Deal’s proposal to increase the HOPE scholarship and grant program funding 3%, we need to do better to provide for our children’s education. If we can’t provide a meaningful education to the kids of Georgia we hurt the prospects of the state’s long term job growth. Having an educated populace will bring far more jobs to Georgia then any number of tax breaks ever can.
This is why I support finding room in our state budget to restore the HOPE scholarship to its former funding. Doing this, and providing grants for STEM degrees, will encourage the growth of the technology sector in our state and can provide for both blue and white collar jobs in the state. Our issue is not a lack of money.
The next two weeks provide the best opportunity for the people of Georgia to bring meaningful change to the budgetary process. Write, call, and mail your representatives! Make sure that they know what truly matters in the budget. Georgian taxpayers cannot afford to continue the corporate subsidization that has been all too prominent for the last decade.
Moving forward, making sure we have a solid financial foundation will be the best way to bring jobs and growth to Georgia.