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Tuesday, March 9, 2010 - 1:24pm

Anti-Tax Rally As Budget Shrinks

As state lawmakers deal with the reality of low state revenue, about a hundred anti-tax activists from Georgia and North Carolina rallied at the State Capitol.

Many were part of the Tea Party movement and listened to Grover Norquist, President of the anti-tax group Americans for Prosperity.

Norquist was critical of Georgia's Republican-controlled government for not cutting enough spending.

"They don't want to govern. They do not want to make decisions. They do not want to prioritize," he said.

State lawmakers are faced with the task of balancing a budget that's over a billion dollars short.

Monday members of the General Asembly received news of low state revenue numbers for the month of February.

The reality leaves state Republicans to face tough choices.

Many vowed to cut taxes rather than having to raise them during their campaigns.

But massive cuts this year could result in high tuition at colleges and force local governments to pick up the slack.

Senator Seth Harp (R - Midland) says there seems to be a divide growing in the party.

"As we go through this process, there's a real ideological battle that's occurring between people that want to raise taxes and do away with exemption, and those who don't want to do that," Harp said. "Let's make our minds up because that's the bottom line."

Govenor Sonny Perdue wants a tax on hospitals. Members of his party in the Assembly want a tax on cigarettes, while Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers (R - Woodstock) wants cuts only.

Perdue is expected to adjust his budget numbers tomorrow.