Georgia State Budget

ATLANTA (AP) _ Governor Perdue vetoed the midyear state budget
tonight -- calling the spending plan's 142 million dollars tax break for property owners ``a desperate solution'' that was wrong for Georgia.

The veto sets up a showdown with state lawmakers on the eve of
what was expected to be the final day of the legislative session.
Perdue said he will call lawmakers back to Atlanta for a special
session if needed.

The governor said the budget failed to provide for critical state programs -- such as newborn screening and hazardous waste
cleanup. It also may have forced hundreds of prosecutors and adult
literacy teachers to be furloughed before the June 30Th end of the
fiscal year.

Perdue said the 700 (m) million dollar supplemental spending
plan ``does not meet the current expenses of the state and it does
not meet the needs of Georgians.''

But the plan also contains badly needed cash for PeachCare and
public defenders, which are both broke.

Perdue said he is hopeful that the House and Senate could work
out the problems in the budget before they adjourn today.

But House Speaker Glenn Richardson sounded defiant and
immediately signaled that he might attempt to override the veto
with a two-thirds vote.

Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle, who presides over the Senate,
was more conciliatory. Cagle said it is time for all to work
together and reach a quick resolution.

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