The Georgia General Assembly has one constitutional obligation which is to pass a balanced budget. When we started our second week of the session, we had joint House and Senate Appropriations Committee hearings to begin the state budget process, listening to all the Commissioners and the Secretary of State on their budget request.Gov Kemp outlined his budget proposals to the Joint Appropriation members. These include a lot of spending on transportation infrastructure, education, and waterways which will benefit the state’s economy. Spending on infrastructure is great for Georgia, but we should be thanking President Joe Biden and the Congressional Democrats for this money. This money comes from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act which all of Georgia’s Republican Congressional representative voted against. The Georgia budget will also include approximately $5.06 billion in additional revenue that our state can utilize over the next six months. My hope is that the Republicans will decide to spend these funds to shore up Georgia government agencies that are short on manpower and can’t function to serve the public in a timely manner. Did you know it takes 21 business days for an unemployment claim to be approved after all the paperwork is submitted? A full month is a long time to wait when somebody has lost their job. I want to point out that the Labor Department is not the only state agency that is short on manpower. I assure you, I will be speaking my mind on this issue as the budget talks progress. I welcome any opportunity to hear feedback from my constituents. Please contact me if you have any questions or concerns regarding the state budget bills, the legislative process or any other measures being considered under the Gold Dome. My contact information is at the bottom of this web page.