Governor Sonny Perdue Signs FY 2003 Amended Budget
|Wednesday, May 14, 2003||
Contact: Office of Communications 404-651-7774
Atlanta - Late yesterday, Governor Sonny Perdue signed into law House Bill 121 which authorized Georgia's FY 2003 Amended Budget.
The total value of vetoed and restricted projects is $15.71 million. Of these, bond vetoes were valued at $7.11 million and have an associated cost of $618,570. Expenditure controls were valued at $8.60 million and have an associated cost of $762,400.
Governor Perdue sent letters to Lieutenant Governor Mark Taylor and House Speaker Terry Coleman informing them of his final FY 2003 budget decisions, which included direction to the Office of Planning and Budget (OPB) to implement recommended Expenditure Controls for FY 2003.
Governor Perdue issued line-item vetoes for the following items:
- Section 41, pertaining to the Department of Administrative Services, page 42, lines 1820 through 1822:
This language was approved in the 1996 session of the General Assembly to control the purchase of communications equipment that was not compatible with an 800-megahertz system. All communications equipment purchases are now under the direction of the Georgia Technology Authority and this language is inconsistent with general law. Therefore, this language (lines 1820 to 1822, page 42) in the Provisions Relative to Section 4, Department of Administrative Services is vetoed and has been vetoed previously.
- Section 42, pertaining to the Department of Community Affairs, page 42, lines 1832 to 1835:
As part of the budget cuts to FY 1992, an Environmental Protection Division grant program that provided local governments with small loans for emergency water and sewer projects was eliminated. Later, this program was replaced with a state-funded loan program in the Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority (GEFA). This language was added to the appropriation bill at that time to highlight that a "loan" program was replacing a "grant" program. There has been no state funding for the GEFA emergency loan program since the end of FY 1999 and this language is no longer necessary. Therefore, this language (lines 1832-1835, page 42) in the Provisions Relative to Section 7, Department of Community Affairs is vetoed and has been vetoed previously.
- Section 42 pertaining to the Department of Community Affairs, page 43, lines 1847 through 1848:
This language authorizes the Department to provide a total of $70,034 in special support for the Southeast Georgia Regional Development Center from the Contracts object class. This special contract was established in the agency by the Fiscal Affairs subcommittee in June of 2001 and therefore this language is unnecessary. Therefore, this language (lines 1847 to 1848, page 43) in the Provisions Relative to Section 7, Department of Community Affairs is vetoed and has been vetoed previously.
- Section 51, pertaining to the Department of Natural Resources, page 81, lines 3679 through 3687:
From FY 2000 through FY 2002, state funds appropriated to the Environmental Protection Division of the Department of Natural Resources were used to match federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality funds to provide mass transit subsidies for state employees. The use of state funds for subsidies to individuals required special authorizing language in each appropriation bill in which this program received funding. Beginning in FY 2003, the Georgia Building Authority continued the state employee mass transit subsidy program with non-state funds and this language was no longer necessary and was vetoed in HB 1002. Therefore, this language (lines 3679 to 3687, page 81) in the Provisions Relative to section 24, Department of Natural Resources is vetoed.
- Section 55, pertaining to the Department of Transportation, page 82, lines 3727 through 3731:
This language authorizes the Department to transfer position counts between budget functions provided that the Department's total position count shall not exceed the maximum number of annual positions assigned by law. All executive branch agencies are legally authorized to amend their budgets and transfer positions between budget functions when the Office of Planning and Budget has approved a properly drawn amendment to the annual operating budget. In addition, the number of positions in each budget function is not specified in the Governor's budget recommendation to the General Assembly or in the annual Appropriations Act making this language unnecessary. Therefore, this language (lines 3727 to 3731, page 82) in the Provisions Relative to Section 36, Department of Transportation is vetoed and has been vetoed previously.
- Section 55, pertaining to the Department of Transportation, page 82, lines 3736 through 3738:
This language authorizes the Department to use available funding for right-of-way acquisition for a multi-lane road to connect the Atlanta Motor Speedway to Interstate 75 via State Road 20 and State Road 3. This project was funded in FY 2001. In addition, as a state route, this project is eligible for motor fuel funds and special language is not necessary. Therefore, this language (lines 3736 to 3738, page 82) in Provisions Relative to Section 36, Department of Transportation is vetoed and has been vetoed previously.
- Section 64, pertaining to Federal Funds, page 85, lines 3831 through 3835:
This language essentially provides a pool of federal money to be available only to supplant state funds. It prohibits an amendment of federal funds above the amount appropriated in the Appropriations Act for purposes other than to supplant state appropriations for the pertinent programs. This language limits the state's ability to accept additional federal funds as they become available throughout the fiscal year. Therefore, this language (lines 3831 to 3835, page 85) in Section 64 is vetoed and has been vetoed previously.
- Section 65, pertaining to the General Obligation Debt Sinking Fund for the Board of Regents, page 88, lines 3954 through 3960:
This language essentially provides $421,950 in debt service funds for a principal bond amount not to exceed $4,850,000 for the Georgia Rural Economic Development and Technology Center at East Georgia College. An Economic Development Technology Building is under construction at Swainsboro Technical College about 2 miles away. Both facilities have classrooms and computer labs and both colleges are offering Associate Degrees in Information Technology. In the current state fiscal situation, it is important to look for efficiencies and to have agencies work closely together on programs and delivery of services. Therefore, this language (lines 3954 through 3960, page 88) in Section 65 is vetoed. A thorough evaluation should be undertaken to merge or mesh the two campus programs into one shared facility.
- Section 65, pertaining to the General Obligation Debt Sinking Fund for the Board of Regents, page 88, lines 3961 through 3967:
This language essentially provides $87,000 in debt service funds for a principal bond amount of $1,000,000 for a campus entryway and related infrastructure for Atlanta Metropolitan College. The current main entrance is owned by Atlanta Technical College and is shared with them. In these difficult budget times, cosmetic focused projects that are not essential to the functioning of a campus should be deferred. Therefore, this language (lines 3961 through 3967, page 88) in Section 65 is vetoed.
- Section 65, pertaining to the State of Georgia General Obligation Debt Sinking Fund, page 87, lines 3917 to 3922:
As a part of the Department of Technical and Adult Education's budget request to the Governor, a list of capital outlay projects was provided. These projects were reviewed and approved by the board for consideration for funding during the 2003 session of the Georgia General Assembly. Although an Allied Health building for the Southwest Georgia Technical College was not included on the board's list, HB 121 includes $74,820 for $860,000 in 20-year bonds for this project. This project received funding in HB 121 while many board-approved projects did not. Therefore, this language (lines 3917-3922, page 87) in the Provisions Relative to Section 39, State of Georgia General Obligation Debt Sinking Fund is vetoed.
Governor Perdue directed Expenditure Controls for the following items:
- Item 4, page 14 of the Comparative Summary of HB 121, pertaining to the Department of Community Health:
This item contains language, limiting enrollment in PeachCare for Kids so that FY 2003 expenditures do not exceed the FY 2003 appropriations provided for PeachCare benefits or administrative costs. This item also recognizes that a limit on enrollment would reduce the FY 2004 annualized cost of children enrolled in FY 2003. Without a cap on enrollment, it would be necessary to appropriate additional funds to the department to accommodate the projected annualized cost of care for more program participants. The General Assembly disagreed with the Governor's recommendation to limit enrollment. However, because the General Assembly failed to appropriate the funds considered necessary for the department to meet its expected financial obligations in FY 2004, I am directing the department to monitor enrollment and take actions necessary to ensure that expenditures do not exceed either the FY 2003 or FY 2004 appropriations for PeachCare.
- Section 65, pertaining to the State of Georgia General Obligation Debt Sinking Fund, page 86, lines 3868 to 3873:
The Department of Technical and Adult Education traditionally receives an appropriation for the replacement of obsolete equipment at its institutions throughout the state. In recent years, the annual funding level has been $12,500,000. In the 2002 session of the Georgia General Assembly, $7,500,000 was appropriated for this purpose. I recommended an annual funding level of $10,000,000 in the 2003 session. This represented an increase over the previous year's funding. HB 121 increases the funding level by an additional $4,200,000 to a total of $14,200,000. Although maintaining current training equipment at our technical institutions is a good use of state resources, this increase over the historical level of funding during a year of austerity reductions in state programs across the board seems excessive. Therefore, I will direct the Georgia State Financing and Investment Commission to withhold from sale that portion of these bonds that exceed the austerity level of funding for obsolete equipment included in my budget report.
- Section 65, pertaining to the State of Georgia General Obligation Debt Sinking Fund, page 88, lines 3948 to 3953:
As a part of the Department of Technical and Adult Education's budget request to the Governor, a list of capital outlay projects was provided. These projects were reviewed and approved by the board for consideration for funding during the 2003 session of the Georgia General Assembly. HB 121 includes $156,600 for $1,800,000 in 20-year bonds for renovations to recently acquired buildings at Columbus Technical College. There are least 20 unfunded projects on the Department's consolidated priority capital outlay list ahead of this project. Therefore, I will direct the Georgia State Financing and Investment Commission to withhold this bond project from sale.
Citing difficult budget times, Governor Perdue emphasized the importance of focusing on "the serious infrastructure issues that affect campus operations and classrooms, labs or library facilities that impact instruction or accreditation." He also recommended the deferral of less important projects such as landscaping, campus entrances and project elements that could wait until designs are completed.
As such, Governor Perdue instructed the Georgia State Financing and Investment Commission to defer funding on the following Board of Regents bond projects or portions of projects:
$2,500,000 of the $5,000,000 Southern Polytechnic State University project on page 64, item 16 of the Comparative Summary of HB 121 that is for campus entrance changes with appropriate road and utility realignment and landscaping. The portion of the project ($2,500,000) that is for lab expansion and renovation for the engineering technology programs should proceed.
- $400,000 of the $700,000 Georgia Southwestern State University project on page 65, item 21 of the Comparative Summary of HB 121 that is for renovation of historic Wheatly Hall Administration Building for repairs and the removal of two additions needed to make the building conform to its original configuration. The portion of the project ($300,000) that relates to pre-design and design should proceed. Since the hall is a functioning administration building, any repairs needed in the interim to keep the building functioning should be funded from the Regents' additional MRR (Major Repair and Rehabilitation) bonds added to HB 121.
OPB To Provide Budget In Brief
OPB is working to publish a Budget In Brief that contains highlights from the final FY 2003 Amended Budget and FY 2004 Budget. OPB expects to make the document available online in June.