Perdue says budget will hold; others see more cuts

Georgia’s revenues took a pounding beginning late last year but current cuts should carry state departments through until the Legislature convenes in January, Gov. Sonny Perdue said today.

Then there could be more cuts, said the chair of the House Appropriations Committee.

Mr. Perdue, in Augusta for the ground-breaking of a new dental school, said state revenues had been relatively flat toward the end of last year up until the very end.

“Our terrible numbers began in December and accelerated and exacerbated all the way through June,” he said. Still, the forecasts officials made seem to be holding, Mr. Perdue said.

“We believe we are on track with current projections,” he said. “We believe that the 5 percent holdback that we’ve asked our people to do will get us through.”

Mr. Perdue said he plans to present the Legislature with a budget “that is real, it’s implementable and (we will) not have to make major adjustments again.”

But that will probably mean some more pain, said Rep. Ben Harbin, R-Evans, who chairs the influential House Appropriations Committee.

“I think we are going to see more cuts,” he said. “Between the economy and the bank failures we probably still have, I think, six months to a year before we kind of level off.”

The problem is there is still turmoil in the banking industry, particularly in the Atlanta area, Mr. Harbin said.

“I think we’ve still got several banks that are going to go under in the next few months out of Atlanta,” he said.

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