Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Gov. Perdue: State of the State

Gov. Perdue will be speaking to the General Assembly, and the state, at 11 a.m. No full live blog, but I will hit the high points here as soon as possible.

The governor has made it clear that this, his last state of the state speech, will be a personal one. He choked up as he thanked his wife:
"Mary, I'm not sure I've ever told you this before, but you're the person that I want to become. ... and I thank you for all that you've done. My loving wife and the first lady of Georgia."
Perdue is pitching his changes for teacher pay.

He is also putting a number on his proposal to put more funding toward mental health and caring for the disabled:
That obligation should carry a tangible effort. It’s a hard thing to do in these budget times … the budgets that I will release on Friday will include additional investment – $20 million in 2010 and over $50 million in 2011.
That, folks, is about it. Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond will give the Democratic response at 2 p.m. But Senate Minority Leader Robert Brown's analysis was simple: "Where's the beef?"

My initial coverage in The Telegraph.

Update: Just to add a bit of context to these mental health/disability funding numbers - The current FY 2010 budget for the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health & Developmental Disabilities, the department split out of DHR last year to focus solely on these issues, is about $1 billion, according to the department.

That means the extra $20 million the governor proposed is about a 2 percent increase, and the extra $50 million in FY 2011 would be a 5 percent increase.

Update 2: The governor's office says the percentage increases are actually 3.83 percent increase in 2010 and an 8.7 percent in 2011. It is exceedingly hard to tell from the budget documents I have, given the creation of that new department last year.

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