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Statement of Governor Sonny Perdue Regarding Passage of FY 2003 Supplemental Budget

Monday, March 24, 2003  Contact: Office of Communications 404-651-7774


Atlanta - Governor Sonny Perdue today issued the following statement upon passage of the FY2003 supplemental budget by the General Assembly:

"I would like to extend my thanks to the General Assembly for the energy and commitment they've put forth during their review and discussion of my budget recommendations. I believe the final product of their efforts is an agreeable compromise.

This budget upholds the spending priorities that I outlined from the beginning. My team worked to develop a budget that maintained funding for our state's most critical needs -- education, healthcare, childcare, medical research, senior care and selected infrastructure and road improvement projects.

Facing the worst economic outlook our state has faced in decades, I chose a balanced approach to addressing the budget crisis. In the FY03 compromise the General Assembly followed suit. They made responsible cuts, used some of our savings, and delivered tax relief to Georgians by fully funding the Homestead Exemption.

Unfortunately, the members of the General Assembly face much tougher choices on the FY04 budget. The budget voted on today is acceptable in the FY03 mid-year process but some form of revenue enhancement cannot be avoided in FY04. There is clearly no other alternative other than a targeted excise tax increase on tobacco which provides us with exactly the funds we need and no more. My Administration's recommendations to the General Assembly will ensure that we continue to look for ways to make government more effective and accountable.

I will hold firm to my commitment to let the legislature legislate, but it is time for everyone involved to recognize that some very hard decisions must be made in order to balance the FY04 budget. Many challenges still confront us, however, I urge the General Assembly to show true leadership and support my FY04 budget recommendations along with the proposed excise increase on tobacco so that we can deliver the critical services that meet the needs of Georgia's citizens."