Senator pushes worker furloughs

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ATLANTA --- Georgia will need to furlough more state employees to balance its budget and deliver homeowners a promised property tax break, the state's top Republican senator said Monday.

Tommie Williams says more state workers must go without pay in order to fund a tax break.  Morris News Service
Morris News Service
Tommie Williams says more state workers must go without pay in order to fund a tax break.

State legislators have pledged to find $428 million to fund the property tax grants that Gov. Sonny Perdue eliminated from his budget proposal. The grants have already been promised to homeowners this year.

"We can't get to $428 million without furloughs," State Senate President Pro Tem Tommie Williams said Monday.

GOP leaders have been hinting for weeks that the state's dismal economic picture might make additional furloughs necessary. Mr. Williams' comments sent the strongest signal yet that the more than 123,000 state employees in Georgia should brace for more days off without pay.

Employees in a number of state agencies are already being required to take a furlough day a month. But others have balked at the idea. The state Department of Transportation and the university system have not used furloughs to cut their spending. The state Legislature could force their hands as it tinkers with the $19.2 billion amended state budget for the current fiscal year.

Mr. Williams, a Lyons Republican, said that some essential employees -- such as prison guards and state law enforcement -- cannot face furloughs.

Georgia officials are looking to make up a $2.2 billion budget shortfall. Tax revenues have plummeted as the recession has tightened its grip.

The $428 million will fund the Homeowner Tax Relief Grant that's included in property tax bills that have already been sent out. The average tax relief is $200 to $300 per household.

If the state doesn't deliver the money, homeowners would be slapped with a supplemental bill to recoup the grant money.

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dickworth1 02/03/09 - 05:32 am
The state workers I am sure

The state workers I am sure will be upset, but the taxpayers are
the ones that pay the wages and sometimes there are sacrafices
that have to be made. All government workers should realize if the government goes broke, they have no jobs!

stateworker 02/03/09 - 09:12 am
Hey dickworth1, most state

Hey dickworth1, most state employees don't make that much to start with. If politicians would do what is needed i.e. rise taxes especially on cigarettes and alcohol we could all get through this crisis with no problem. If it does come to furloughs don't complain when you're standing in line six hours for what ever government subsidy, license, or permit you're getting.

backpac-bill 02/03/09 - 01:13 pm
Hello,why not charge a dime

Hello,why not charge a dime at "TOLL" locations i.e.exit ramps off 285/75/20/85.Sure would help and we are only asking a dime.Why not do this in the 4 major cities.

mosovich 03/05/09 - 07:04 pm
So, you want a handful of

So, you want a handful of people to bailout the state? Yeah, that's fair..

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