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Deal’s budget plan to highlight State of the State address

Education, transportation and the tri-state water wars also priorities

POSTED: January 11, 2011 8:00 p.m.

After fighting through snow and ice to attend the first day of the 2011 legislative session Monday, lawmakers are trekking back to the Capitol today for the State of the State address.

It's been postponed until 2 p.m. to allow legislators time to reach the Capitol. The House will gavel into session at 10 a.m. but stand in recess until 1 p.m.

During the afternoon speech, Gov. Nathan Deal is expected to release details of his budget proposal.

"There will be further cuts in the state budget next year, which is no secret to anyone," Deal's spokesman Brian Robinson said. "Anytime you make cuts, it requires a lot of study, thought and negotiation with all interested parties, and he's been engaged in that process as he pieces together the 2012 budget and the 2011 supplemental budget."

During his inaugural speech, Deal emphasized self-reliance during times of economic stress.

"As we embark on this journey to lead our state forward, I call on all Georgians to assume responsibility for themselves and their family," he said. "I call on communities and civic and religious organizations to continue and expand their efforts to serve the needs of people in their area. State government cannot and should not be expected to provide for us what we can provide for ourselves."

Deal also talked about his priorities with education, transportation and the tri-state water wars but didn't release specifics. He was expected to go into more detail at Tuesday morning's Georgia Chamber of Commerce Eggs & Issues breakfast, but the event was canceled because of ongoing inclement weather concerns.

After Deal's inauguration, the House and Senate decided in a joint session to go into recess for Tuesday and reconvene on Wednesday.

The state Constitution requires that the General Assembly begin its business on the second Monday of January, so Georgia State Patrol troopers on four-wheelers escorted legislators and their staff Monday. As the ice thaws today, legislators will be looking for help again as they get back to the Gold Dome.

For Hall County's legislative delegation, this meant waiting out the weather in Atlanta hotels. For Rep. Doug Collins, one of the House floor leaders, it was a good time to get started on legislative work.

"It's pretty quiet," he said Tuesday at the Capitol. "I got stir fever staying at the hotel. I'm settling in after yesterday's start and looking ahead at some of the proposed legislation."

Rep. Carl Rogers, who stayed at his West Peachtree Street home, also took a trip to the Capitol on Tuesday.

"It looks like the snow and ice is melting on the streets, and I see a few more cars on the interior streets," he said. "I wanted to wait until it warmed up a little. It's a good time to get the Capitol office in order."

Sen. Butch Miller decided to drive back to Gainesville on Tuesday.

"I went back, not knowing what school would do. My family was with me for the first day of session, and we decided to head back home," he said. "I'll drive in and see how things go for the State of the State address. I hope by Wednesday afternoon this ice and snow will be past tense."

 



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