How Is the State of Georgia Doing Financially?
9/5/2020 ~ by Representative Rick Jasperse
I am glad when folks come up to me in the grocery store or wherever, when shopping, and feel comfortable enough to ask me a question. It usually goes… “I hope you don’t mind.” Of course, I don’t. Going way back to when I was the County Agricultural Agent, I looked forward to being asked questions. I am glad you care enough to ask and know you do care.
Last week I was asked a good one … ”Rick, how is the state of Georgia doing financially? Rick, considering all that’s going on, I can’t help but think we are in bad shape?” I was glad he and his wife we were in pretty good shape compared to many others. I have always been interested in state finances and expenditures, and I am on the appropriations committee to look after our interests.
Well, I had just received the most recent results of what has happened in 2020. And revenues were down .4 %. During the second half of the session in June, we were able to plan for this in reducing spending in certain areas to maintain and stay in line with the balanced budget. Any time we have to reduce funding, it is hard and carefully thought out, just like it is in your home budget.
We all like to compare ourselves to others, and we do that in Bond ratings. The selling of bonds to investors are how the State raises money to fund libraries, university buildings, school buses, new school buildings, and new Highway Patrol cars. Just like you, we want to borrow money at as low a rate as possible, and states do that by Bond ratings. You have a credit rating, and the better the rating, the better your interest rate. AAA bond ratings are the best for states. Georgia has again earned AAA bond rating. We have received this for many years, and this is due to the Governor and Legislature working together to have a well-managed reliable state for investors.
We have a good, reliable mix of income taxes, sales taxes, and other sources of revenue that are the dollars Georgians spend to keep us the Best State to Do Business. This mix gives us stability and assurance that we can meet out budget. Most importantly, being wise with your dollars is the real key. Both Governor Kemp and Governor Deal and the General Assemblies have kept spending in line with revenues, and that has been good for all Georgians.
We also have a shortfall reserve fund that some folks call the rainy-day fund. This has helped us help with the Covid 19 response; besides federal dollars, the rainy-day fund has been used to provide millions of masks, thousands of gallons of sanitizing gel, and lots of other things to schools, first responders, and healthcare providers.
So, it took a minute to explain this to folks, but I wanted them to rest assured that Georgia was managing their money like they would their own, wisely, carefully, and compassionately.
If you are interested, I can send you a summary where we spent your money in the 2021 budget. You can contact me through my website at rickjasperse.org, at the Capitol at 404-656-7153 or any time you see me. I will be glad to help you.
Thank you for the opportunity to be your State Representative.