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Long term thinking on state funding

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POSTED: March 11, 2010 2:26 p.m.
The news is not good for Georgia on the economic front. It seems sales tax revenue is down approximately 10 percent from February 2009, and last year revenue was down ... well, let’s say they were way down and leave it at that for now.
Because the bottom line is that the bottom line isn’t at all rosy, and as state legislators try to come up with a budget their options aren’t even remotely pretty.
Lawmakers are trying to find a way to pay for too much with too little. Try that at home and you’re likely to find yourself out of a home sooner rather than later.
Our suggestion: For the short term, find ways to supplement the budget through a combination of sin taxes and fee increases while making the necessary cuts in spending to balance the budget. Rolling back some of those sales tax exemptions would also help.
But once that’s done, legislators need to get serious about finding alternative means of funding state government -- or reducing it to the services required by the constitution.
If need be, get the brightest minds available to help come up with a solution that is affordable and fair to all. And take plenty of time, because once the budget is finished there will be nearly a year to do some creative thinking on the role of government and ways to pay for it that won’t add more to the burden on taxpayers.
And in case you were curious: February 2009 tax revenue was down 35 percent from February 2008, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
 

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