07.01.2008 0

Georgia Legislature Votes on Budget Blindfolded

  • On: 07/31/2008 16:10:09
  • In: Fiscal Responsibility
  • Apparently, in Georgia, lawmakers are in such a rush to get out the door that they do not check twice to see who or what they are even allocating State funds for.

    So reports the Atlanta Journal Constitution:

    “Chamblee City Manager Kathy Brannon was surprised when she read that her city was approved for a $30,000 state grant to help fund the Cure Childhood Cancer program… She’d never heard of the program. Nor had she requested the money… ‘I’m not in the business of curing cancer,’ she said. ‘I don’t know who these people are.’

    “And Ken Penuel of Fort Gaines in Southwest Georgia, head of the local economic development council, was equally perplexed by a $2,500 state grant slated for an aviation museum. His Clay County doesn’t have an aviation museum… ‘The information is incorrect,’ Penuel wrote in an email to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

    “Turns out mistakes get made when lawmakers slip hundreds of special local grants into the $21 billion state budget in the final hours of their annual legislative session.

    “The Chamblee grant was for a program that wasn’t in Chamblee. The lawmaker who requested it, Rep. Fran Millar (R-Dunwoody), said the money is supposed to go to the DeKalb County Hospital Authority.

    “The National Museum of Commercial Aviation grant was supposed to go to Clayton County, not Clay County.

    “John Brown, House budget director, said he is working with the Department of Community Affairs to make sure those grants go to the right places. In some cases, he said lawmakers will have to try to amend the budget next year to correct the errors.”

    You don’t need to be a stenographer in order to make sure that the money being allocated goes to where it is supposed to be allocated. This is a case of pure legislative laziness, and no small amount of excess. According to John Brown, the State House’s budget director, about 10 to 15 of these misappropriations occur on an annual basis.

    ALG News has to wonder, do they even read what they are voting on?

    ALG Perspective: This is a very good example of why government needs to be limited: because it is inefficient. Private businesses have the advantage of self-accountability. If a business misappropriates money, it pays for it in their bottom line, and it has to adapt if it wants to stay afloat. In government, if money is misappropriated, the politicians just shrug and tell themselves that they’ll get more taxes to spend next year. Citizens really need to hold their legislatures accountable to be good stewards of their tax dollars.

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