State Rep. John Yates, R-Griffin, said he had talked to the governor’s budget director to find out if Griffin was affected by Perdue’s fiscal decisions. The answer was: yes and no.
Perdue approved $500,000 in state funding for the expansion of education course offerings at the University of Georgia-Griffin campus. These new programs include majors in general business, microbiology and biology, all starting in the 2007 fall term and now pending the Board of Regents’ approval. All three programs are upper-division programs for transfer students or those seeking a second bachelor’s degree.
Starting in fall 2008, the Griffin campus will offer two additional programs, with majors in urban forestry and special education.
Perdue also left $1.3 million untouched to fund much-needed infrastructure improvements at the campus to accommodate the growth and expansion of UGA-Griffin.
“We are very pleased about the Griffin campus,” Yates said.
“I was hopeful we would get the money, but until the governor signed the final budget I wasn’t sure,” said Gerald Arkin, assistant dean at UGA-Griffin. “Clearly, we are very happy, very pleased, and this is a great opportunity for our students. Our elected officials for this district worked diligently for this. They need to be credited as well.”
Another proposal, though, regarding the Griffin Technical College, didn’t make it in the budget, as Perdue did not allow $2.5 million to be spent on a campus expansion. The school’s expansion is crucial because Griffin Tech is landlocked. The money would have funded the purchase of Flynt Middle School, including 11.2 acres of land, the building and the gymnasium.
Yates said he was disappointed about the decision but not surprised, because Griffin Tech funding came up in the middle of the budget talks and was not part of the governor’s original plan.
“We were never that sure about it as we were with UGA. (Griffin Tech is) still in line, but not in line this year,” said Yates, adding that he hopes the school system will leave the building available for next year.
“We will go to work early to give Griffin Tech an opportunity for a new medical building as soon as possible,” Yates said.
Yates said he wasn’t surprised to find out about the number of items Perdue vetoed.
“It happens every year. Some (bills) he leaves in, some he doesn’t,” Yates said.
He added that the governor has economists who estimate how much money will come in for each year’s budget. Based on these predictions, Perdue may have to slash some spending proposals.
“He can’t add anything (to the budget), but he can take things out,” Yates said.
The 2008 state budget will go into effect on July 1 and will end on June 30, 2008.