The $40,000-a-day headache

It looks as if Gov. Sonny Perdue has a chance to save the state some money, save the GOP some headaches, save the world and get home in time for dinner - all by avoiding a special session of the legislature.

 

Without the governor's help, a special session must be called to resolve the issue of the mid-year budget - which the General Assembly passed but the governor vetoed.

The mid-year budget allows the moving around of money to pay for emergencies and other unanticipated or unallocated-for spending.

The House overrode the governor's veto, but the Senate did not, leaving the matter in limbo as lawmakers left Atlanta at the end of the regular session last month.

Ever since, officials have been trying to work something out in advance of a special session: None of the principals wants to call it without knowing where it might go, what it might lead to. And why call a costly special session if nothing has changed?

House Majority Whip Barry Fleming is among a group trying to avoid the $40,000-a-day headache. He and several others have been working on ways to do what needs to be done spending-wise before the new fiscal year starts July 1 - as long as the governor is willing to void his veto.

The thinking is that since the governor has never officially transmitted his veto of the mid-year budget to the General Assembly, he can just take it back and undo it.

In the process, he theoretically can extract some promises from the legislature, particularly the House, to handle mid-year budgets differently in the future. Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, a conservative true believer who'd like to see less spending, is acutely interested in changing the nature of the mid-year budgeting process to avoid as much unnecessary spending as possible.

Things got heated in the regular session, especially between the House and governor. But Perdue and House Speaker Glenn Richardson were said to have had a cordial, productive meeting on Monday, and the governor might make his decision known today.

We believe there's a way to avoid a costly and potentially divisive special session - about a budget that's going to run its course in little over a month. And that everyone can save face in the process.

 

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