Ga. lawmakers start budget squeezing

ATLANTA - The General Assembly won't officially be in session for the week, but that doesn't mean legislators will be goofing off.

After today's state holiday, most of them will spend the next days listening to testimony by administration officials on the budget recommendation Gov. Nathan Deal delivered on Wednesday. The governor kicks off the parade of witnesses early Tuesday, followed by his economic adviser. 

The rest of Tuesday's discussion will be on the various education agencies, from preschool to college.

House Appropriations Chairman Terry England, R-Auburn, said Friday he intends to spread the work around.

"I probably am going to ask the vice chairs to be a little more proactive during the off session in regards to agency oversight," he said. "They're like the CEOs of these huge businesses."

The state is on track to spend nearly $2 billion more than it takes in from taxes if changes aren't made. Deal is recommending spending cuts and the use of some of the state's reserves to get there, but the members of the House and Senate appropriations committees meeting this week may decide to come up with their own ideas.

The General Assembly formally recessed Wednesday until Jan. 24 for the budget review. 

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