Republican lawmaker wary of Perdue budget plan

A top budget-writer in the Legislature says Gov. Sonny Perdue is using “funny money” to balance the budget and that, contrary to what Gov. Sonny Perdue says, furloughs are likely for the fiscal year that starts in July.

I interviewed state Rep. Earl Erhart, R-Powder Springs, for a piece later on this week about his role as new chairman of the House Appropriations Committee’s Higher Education Subcommittee and the outlook for funding for the University of Georgia and other colleges.

Erhart’s “funny money” crack came as he was discussing Perdue’s reliance on bonds and his use of $34 million in lottery money to plug a hole in this year’s higher-ed budget.

Consider that HOPE money gone, he said, as well as a mysterious $19 million bond outlay for a Kia training center that he said has already been built.

Blasting an even bigger hole in next years budget, Erhart said there’s no way Perdue’s proposed 1.6 percent tax on hospitals, the so-called bed tax or sick tax, will fly.

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