One of the most challenging tasks the Georgia General Assembly takes on each year is sorting through the state’s finances. Unlike legislation, the budget isn’t something can be carried over to the next legislative year. The State of Georgia is required to not only produce a balanced budget for each upcoming fiscal year, but to also revise the current fiscal year budget in order to account for unexpected expenses and fluctuating revenues. It is a priority for both the House and Senate to set a reasonable, fiscally responsible budget that provides for our great state and its people.

As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I spent the week with other legislators closely reviewing Governor Deal’s budget recommendations for both the Fiscal Year 2017 general budget and the Fiscal Year 2016 amended budget. This in-depth look at the budget allowed us to break down the big numbers and look more thoroughly for where funds should be distributed during the year. This review process included presentations from state agencies that provided us with information about their most pressing funding needs. This testimony is needed in order for the Georgia General Assembly to create a well-established, detailed budget that is agreed upon by both legislative chambers.

Throughout the week, I worked with my fellow legislators to carefully review specific areas of the budget. I take this role very seriously and know that my voice within these subcommittees can be my biggest contribution to the completed budget. I am able to speak openly, add meaningful input and speak out against line items that does not support or benefit the important needs of District 53.The discussion will continue until a full budget plan is agreed upon in both the House and Senate chambers—this is sometimes a process that can last into the final weeks of the legislative session. Although the process can be tiring, I will work diligently to ensure the most fiscally responsible course of action for our state.

In the coming weeks, we will start closely reviewing and moving bills through the legislative process in the Senate. Your feedback on these bills is integral to my work on your behalf, so please continue reaching out to personally discuss legislation with me. I take every phone call, email or office visit into consideration when casting my vote in the Senate chamber. Please do not hesitate to call or email me at any time. I am in office to serve you!

I am honored that you have put your trust in me and I will always put your best interests at the forefront of my decision making while here at the Capitol. Please feel free to contact my office at any time to talk about pending legislation or address other concerns in our district – my door and phone lines are always open!