Georgia House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, speaking with the press ahead of the 2020 Georgia General Assembly.
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Georgia House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, speaking with the press ahead of the 2020 Georgia General Assembly.

The top Republican in Georgia’s House of Representatives is anticipating a lengthy 2020 legislative session as state lawmakers grapple with tax and budgeting rules.

During his annual pre-session press conference House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, laid out his expectations and offered a preview of the upcoming General Assembly.

As the state experiences declining revenues and Gov. Brian Kemp calls for significant reduction in spending by state agencies, lawmakers will have to find ways to fund and protect essential services.

"I know the governor is being very cautious with looking at the economy, which is kind of why we are here," Ralston told reporters Thursday. "I think it has to be repeated and stressed that over the past 10 or so years we've been very, very conservative in how we manage the state's budget."

He said the session will be a wakeup call for those calling for cuts and dealing with that issue will eat up a majority of their time. 

“I kind of smiled when I read some of the things that said we’re going to be in and out in an early session,” the speaker said. “People that haven’t been around a budget cutting session are going to be in for a real surprise."