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Tuesday, November 10, 2009 - 11:28am

Lawmakers Grapple with Shrinking Budget

State lawmakers will have a tough time balancing the state's budget next year because of declining state revenue. That's the word from one state policy watchdog.

Already, teachers and state employees are taking furlough days and many school had to increase class sizes. Come January the state legislature will need to make some tough choices as state revenue is still not showing signs of recovery.

Alan Essig with the Budget and Policy institute says lawmakers have to find ways to fund state services. But it’s also an election year, and he worries that Republicans who control the statehouse will shy away from raising taxes and fees.

“That’s not a wise choice,” Essig says. “You cut school days, push children and the elderly off medicaid, we can close prisons. those are the choices you have.”

State budget writers say they are aware that hard decisions have to be made, but they say Georgia’s economic outlook is starting to look better.

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