By law, Georgia has a balanced budget. But how we get there is troubling.
The state is expecting to receive $600 million more in revenue this year than it did last year, meaning it will take a whopping $20.8 billion. But a look at the state’s expenses show that the governor is planning to spend over $42.3 billion (up $1.2 billion from last year). How can that possibly be a balanced budget?
The reason the budget balances is that Georgia is taking $12.1 billion dollars from the federal government. This amounts to about 30% of our spending. The rest of the difference is from two main sources: research grants and intergovernmental payments. Research grants are really a good thing - it is money our state colleges make doing research for businesses. Intergovernmental payments are much harder to track and consist of payments by state agencies or school boards into the State Health Benefits Plan health insurance that covers 650,000 teachers, state employees, retirees and family members. These transfers come to somewhere around $4 billion.
"He who controls the purse strings..."
Federal money is one of the excuses we hear when we demand that the State dump Common Core. Federal funds given to Gwinnett County years ago is the reason that the County continues to run a bus service that costs taxpayers $10 million a year.
The State of Georgia needs to elect representatives who understand the dangers of taking federal money and will work to wean us off of as much as we can stand. If Georgia wants to be able to call the shots we need to stand on our own two feet as much as possible.