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Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue
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Prepared Remarks of Governor Sonny Perdue

Thursday, April 8, 2004  Contact: Office of Communications 404-651-7774

(Note: The Governor sometimes deviates from prepared remarks)
2004 Sine Die Remarks
State Capitol
Thursday, April 8, 2004

Atlanta - Good evening. The 2004 Session of the General Assembly has adjourned sine die.

This was a busy session. We didn't accomplish all we set out to do, but we have accomplished some good things, especially for children.

We finally passed strong bipartisan Child Protection legislation.

We strengthened early childhood education by passing my Bright from the Start bill to create a Department of Early Care and Learning.

We passed substantial education reform that gives flexibility to local school systems and restores discipline to the classroom teachers.

We passed a Foster Parents Bill of Rights to give long overdue recognition and protection to those who give so much for the care of Georgia 's foster children.

And we have saved the HOPE Scholarship for future generations!

All of these accomplishments reflect my priorities of education and caring for children.

However, there is one "must do" item for the General Assembly each year.

One constitutional duty that must be carried out - pass a balanced annual budget.

Every member of the General Assembly knew going in that this would not be an easy budget year. We knew it last fall.

When I presented my budget proposal to the Legislature in January, I told them I would not accept another round of budget gimmicks.

I told them we were not going to spend money we don't have.

Georgians deserve a fair, honest, balanced annual budget.

That is the kind of budget that I proposed. And that is the kind of budget I expected to reach my desk.

Unfortunately, tonight, that is not what the General Assembly sent me.

The 2005 budget the Legislature passed does not balance. And, true to my word, I will not sign it.

That means we have not accomplished our one "must do" constitutional duty.

So where does that leave us? It leaves us with some unfinished business to attend to.

Therefore, I will call for the General Assembly to reconvene in special session to fulfill our shared responsibility to pass a balanced budget.

This need not be an adversarial process. I hope that our legislators will approach the task in a spirit of being positive and reasonable and keeping our eyes firmly on what is best for Georgia .

I will consult with the leaders of both parties to choose an appropriate time for reconvening the General Assembly.

I believe we should act sooner rather than later. And if we come back with fresh eyes and a fresh start, I believe we can get the job done quickly and give Georgians the fair, honest and balanced budget they deserve.