The WasteWatcher: The Staff Blog of Citizens Against Government Waste

Budget Showdown in Georgia

The WasteWatcher is the staff blog of Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) and the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW). For questions, contact blog@cagw.org.


Unless they get their act together, House Republicans in Georgia could lose their power just as fast as they acquired it.  After 130 years of Democratic dominance in the state legislature, a Republican majority was elected in 2006, but the members have not followed through on campaign promises.

While in the minority, Republicans preached the philosophy of small government, low taxes, and eliminating wasteful spending.  Now in power, they have allowed the fiscal 2007 supplemental budget for the state of Georgia to contain more than $50 million in pet projects.  Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle, a fellow Republican, threatened to remove the pork projects, resulting in the House taking back the budget and a subsequent legislative showdown.

The battle has increased tensions within the party, as Republicans take sides in support of the Lieutenant Governor or the House.  The majority of conservative pundits in Georgia agree with the Lieutenant Governor, as do many senators.  Republican Senate Majority Leader Tommie Williams stated, “Our goal is for the mid-year budget to be a slim budget.”  The Senate kept the pork out of its budget. 

House leaders are expecting the Lieutenant Governor and Senate to back down under pressure, especially with Governor Sonny Perdue, the first Republican since Reconstruction, supporting many of the pet projects.

Lieutenant Governor Cagle and Sen. Williams acknowledge that compromise is possible.  But compromise could create a slippery slope.  Republicans must not only eliminate the pork, but institute the spending control mechanisms that they accused Democrats of neglecting.  Lieutenant Governor Casey needs the support of fiscal conservatives throughout the state to win a crucial battle against wasteful spending. 

-- Seth Weinstein

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