Georgia Budget

Perdue unveiled his plan during his annual state of the state address Wednesday night in Atlanta. For the most part people in south Georgia are pleased with governor Perdue’s budget. The best news for Georgians: no new taxes. People are also pleased the governor is working to preserve programs that are important to this area.

Like governors around the country, Sonny Perdue's budget plan for fiscal 2005 calls for another year of spending cuts. Despite those cuts, the governor says every teacher will receive a pay raise of at least two percent.

"I think the pay raises are definitely something they need to have and it will benefit education because it gives teachers a pat on the back, look I'm appreciated, and I'm appreciated in my profession," says Artrice Haugabrook, a middle school principal.

Those teacher pay raised will cost at least $215 million. The governor has also worked to save the Hope Scholarship fund.

"It’s really good for me, because I'm really dependent on it, otherwise I don't know how long I would be able to stay in school, because I'm really dependent on Hope," says
Ashley Zahn, a VSU Freshman.

The budget would also preserve PeachCare, the state's medical insurance program for children.

"I think PeachCare is extremely important to the working families of Georgia who don't have traditional insurance coverage, and I'm pleased the Governor is making it a priority to keep PeachCare in tact," says Richard Joyner of South Georgia Medical Center.

Critics are upset at the $1 billion in debt the governor has called for. That money would be used on construction plans from roads to projects at Georgia universities.

One billion dollars of new debt may sound like a lot, but the governor plans to pay for it through a bond issue. It will be good for individual teachers, but the state will cut $256 million in grants to local school systems, and that has people wondering if local school districts will need to raise property taxes