All hell breaks lose… (My prediction for today’s headline after the session starts. Just Kidding)

Actually legislators will collect $400 dollars for about an hour’s worth of work, but before the other 39 legislative days are over it is possible they just may earn their salaries. For a great primer on the legislative session, let me direct you to Tyler’s post over at Peach Pundit.

…and now for some predictions about the legislative session:

1st: This is a no brainer. The budget will dominate the session. It always does; however, facing a 3 billion dollar deficit in the FY 2009 budget, legislators will be scrambling to pass the supplemental budget. Though everyone says that fixing Georgia’s current fiscal problems is top priority, it is doubtful the supplemental will be passed before the end of February. Here is what will happen. Educator’s can expect another 5 to 7 days of furloughs as well as a 30 million dollar cut to QBE. Look for all agencies to get some kind of across the board cut with the Department of Human Resources taking a little more significant cut than most.

As for the FY 2010 budget, legislators will need to cut about 2 billion dollars to balance the budget with the revenue estimate, and they need to plug 300 million dollars of stimulus money. Half of the 300 will again come from austerity cuts to education. All state workers will be subject to a pay cut for FY ’10. This being an election year there will be no talk of increasing revenue, but look for some sales tax holidays to go away. My predictions will be either the energy saving weekend or the back to school weekend.

2nd: Sunday alcohol sales will pass both the House and Senate, but it will be vetoed by “Smiling” Sonny. This bill is a good bill, but it is doubtful to raise revenues. People are not going to run out and buy alcohol on Sunday just because it is legal. Look for our own Representative James Mills to vote against Sunday sales.

3rd: The gun bill will pass before the supplemental budget.

4th: Republicans will once again try to limit reproductive health in a pro-life disguised bill. Look for this bill to go after birth control and stem cell research. Luckily, I don’t see Ralston taking much of a different approach than Richardson on this.

5th: Ralston will get rid of the hawks system, and we will see actual floor fights on amendments to bills.

Good news: debate is always good.
Bad news: debate takes too long.

6th: Democratic leaders will be more out spoken, but at the end of the day they will probably fold. Look for 50% of them to vote against the supplemental budget. Also, Porter will try to make a show of voting against the final budget.

7th: Ethics reform will be greatly debated, but the final bill will be weaker than the coffee at the homeless shelter.

8th: Transportation will not be fixed this session. The House will again call for a regional solution and the Senate will ask for a statewide proposal. At the end of the day, no one is going to be perceived as raising taxes.

9th: The last day of the session will be as crazy as the first, and at the end of the day not much will have changed. The budget will come in around 17 billion dollars and by July, Georgia will once again be in deficit.

10th: Look for Cagle to resign at the end of the session and at least one person on each side of the Governor’s race to drop out. For the Republicans, the best money is on Austin Scott or Nathan Deal. For the Democrats: Porter either changes his mind or runs for a different race.

Don’t agree! Comment below…

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