Monday, February 2, 2009

Day 11- February 2, 2009

Tonight on Lawmakers, state employee furloughs discussed as part of the solution for revenue shortfalls; Representative Vance Smith outlines a proposed statewide transportation plan; Senator Eric Johnson proposes a universal school voucher program and the House votes to allow oversight of mobile check cashers.

Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers says economic development is the key to a long-term fix for Georgia’s economic woes. In the short term, state employee furloughs- primarily at the administrative level- are being seriously considered. Could a federal economic stimulus package change the current outlook? Possibly, but it could involve a special legislative session later this year.

As proposed, Senate Bill 83 would double the embattled Homeowners Tax Relief Grant (HTRG). Governor Sonny Perdue’s budget proposed an elimination of the current grant. House leadership has passed House Bill 143, which guarantees the subsidy, but only for one additional year.

House Transportation Committee Chair Representative Vance Smith unveiled a statewide transportation plan today. Calling for an increase of 1% in the statewide sales tax to fund transportation, the provision would be in place for 10 years. Called the 20/20 plan, revenue raised from the tax goes into a trust to fund the comprehensive transportation plan which includes economic development strategies and centralizing freight operations. Lawmakers’ Valarie Edwards has the details.

Senator Eric Johnson today introduced his universal school voucher legislation. Supporters say the program could be the key to a more successful school system. If passed, Senate Bill 90 would provide a $5000 voucher for those choosing to move their child or student to a private school. Opponents of the measure say that tax dollars shouldn’t go to private or religious-based schools. Lawmakers’ Brittany Evans reports.

All that and more tonight on Lawmakers at 7 PM.

Lawmakers repeats on GPB Radio at 8 PM tonight and on GPB television at 5:30 AM tomorrow morning. You can also catch a repeat of Lawmakers on GPB Knowledge at 7 AM tomorrow. GPB Knowledge is available to those with digital television receivers at .3 of your local GPB transmitter, for example 20.3 in Augusta, or 8.3 in Atlanta.