Georgia's Special Session

Georgia lawmakers are headed into General Assembly overtime. Unable to pass a 2005 budget Gov. Perdue finds suitable, the Assembly will extend into next week.

A budget was passed 30 minutes before the midnight adjournment time. The Georgia House and Senate passed their version of the 2005 state budget, but Gov. Perdue says it's $90 million out of balance, so it's back to the drawing board.

State lawmakers have bought themselves a little more time to figure out a balanced budget for Georgia, which receives mixed reviews from area residents.

"The amount of time they're up there is short anyway, and in the order of something this important, they need to stay until it's finished," says Bill Felts, who is against education cuts.

Earl Williams, Jr., a former middle school principal, says, "It's going to cost $45,000 a day for those sessions and we're already saying we're broke!"

Two main sources of disagreement between the House and the Senate have been how much money to put into the drowning Medicaid program and how much to cut the state education system.

The HOPE Scholarship program skated by the House and Senate with only minor changes and most area residents give that an A-plus

"I've got a sophomore in college and another son who's a senior that's eligible, and I just think anything they can do to help pay for kids' education is absolutely essential."

Gov. Perdue says he plans to call a special session to pass a suitable budget after consulting with some lawmakers. A firm date has not been set yet.

One main reason the governor has not approved this budget is that it needs $57 million in new criminal penalty fines did not pass the regular session. Legislators are talking about giving teachers a two percent raise, and that was questionable for some time, but lawmakers are trying to delay the raise until at least January 1.