Answer: Pass a budget.
Thats right. The General Assembly’s only required and possibly most daunting task is to pass the state’s budget each year. It is also, arguably, the most important thing that the General Assembly does each session because the budget is the single piece of legislation that dictates where all of our state’s investments will go. Here is how it works:
In October, budget requests for the next fiscal year are sent to each state agency. Between October and January, each agency crunches the numbers and sends their budget data to the Governor’s office. During the first week of the General Assembly, the Governor gives the State of the State address and releases his proposed budget for the next fiscal year. During the session, the House and the Senate have hearings on the proposed spending in every line item in the budget and pass the budget into law. That budget, once passed by the General Assembly and signed by the Governor, is in effect from July 1st to June 30th of the following year.
Today, Spencer and his staff were joined by staff from Representative Stacey Evans’ office at Budget School on the campus of the University of Georgia. Alan Essig, Executive Director of the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, gave a presentation on how to read and understand the Georgia budget as well as a discussion on some of the budget challenges we face as a state. Both teams worked with some of our past budgets and learned about the impact that the budgetary decisions have on our economy and our education system.
The budget is important because it serves as a statement of our goals and a vision for our future. The money that Georgia spends is an investment in the future growth and prosperity of our state. It is Spencer’s belief that these funds must be spent wisely and must be directed towards the most important needs of our population. Principle among these needs is education. Investing in our students lays the foundation for future economic growth and the development of strong communities. Strong communities result in reductions in crime, smart management of our environment and natural resources and the development of the next generation of leaders who will further improve Georgia. We can meet our challenges through smart, deliberate investments in our budget, and we will work tirelessly to meet these goals as we debate the budget during this legislative session.
We want to thank Alan Essig and the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute for their presentation today and their work regarding our state’s budget. They have been an indispensable resource to Spencer and our staff, and we look forward to building a long-lasting relationship and ensuring that Georgia makes the investments we need most.
We thank you or your support and for the honor of serving you in the General Assembly. Have a great week!