A state fund that gives local communities cheap loans for their water and sewer projects could be cashed in on Wall Street to help prop up the state budget.
The senate passed a house bill that would earn the state a one time $288 million payment if it sold most of the $600 million debt collected in its Georgia Fund.
Several senators were concerned it would deplete the fund so much that local governments with bad credit wouldn’t be able to draw on it anymore for their water infrastructure projects.
The bill’s supporter Republican Senator John Wiles says the fund would still have about 40 million in it next year to help cover those projects and the sell is ultimately worth it.
"You know in tight economic times, $288 million to make sure we have it in the budget to pay for the teachers of Georgia, to help pay for medical care, to help pay for the students and college," says Wiles. "I think it’s a good value for the state of Georgia."
Environmentalists aren’t convinced. Neil herring is with the Sierra Club.
"The places with poor credit all they can do is raise their people’s water rates that will start running up because they’re not meeting standards,” says Herring.
The bill now heads back to the house for consideration.