HEADLINES : Georgia
Deal signs budget but vetoes some lawmaker add-ons
Gov. Nathan Deal signed a $19.3 billion state spending plan for the upcoming fiscal year Monday, but not before using his line-item veto to cut several projects added by legislators in the final month of the 2012 session.
More than half the budget for fiscal 2013, which begins July 1, will go to education, but the plan doesn't provide cost-of-living raises for the state's more than 200,000 teachers and employees. Many of them have not had raises since before the Great Recession began affecting state revenue in 2008 and 2009.
In a statement released Monday afternoon, Deal said he was sparing with his veto.
"I worked with legislators on the front end to make sure we'd have as few line-item vetoes as possible, and we have succeeded in doing that," the statement said. "I think the best way to eliminate wasteful or inefficient spending isn't with a line-item veto - which is an important tool - but by never allowing such projects into the budget in the first place.
Among the items Deal disallowed was an appropriation of $1.75 million to cover a weight-loss surgery benefit in the state's health plan.