Tuesday, March 17, 2009

House to cut State Ethics Commission $$ in half

The House sub-committee on general government passed a budget this afternoon that halves the funding for the State Ethics Commission, which handles elected officials and lobbyists financial filings and investigates campaign finance issues.

Gov. Sonny Perdue suggested nearly $1.5 million for the commission in fiscal 2010. The sub-committee, which submits its budget to the full appropriations committee, which is expected to vote the budget into the full House Wednesday morning, recommended about $750,000.

Compared to the commission's initial fiscal 2009 budget (passed before the economy tanked), this is a cut of about $1 million.

Shannon McCaffrey with The Associated Press is sitting next to me and she's on the phone with Commission Executive Director Rick Thompson right now. Mr. Thompson says the cut would mean staff layoffs, but he's not sure how many.

The commission has 19 positions, 17 filled, he said.

Many thanks to the alert reader who noticed the cut and called it to my attention, as well as to The Associated Press.

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