Now that the state's revenue figures have been released, we'll need to stand in line to apologize to Gov. Sonny Perdue.
Looks like he was right.
Perdue backstabbed his political allies for failing to march in lockstep with him during the legislative session. When it came time to sign the state budget, Perdue slashed funding in the districts of lawmakers who crossed him.
Thank goodness. If Perdue hadn't eliminated the funds local lawmakers wanted for the Joseph M. Still Burn Center, the Georgia Golf Hall of Fame and the aircraft maintenance program at Augusta Tech, the state's recently announced budget surplus barely would be $597,621,315.
So Perdue also was probably right to veto the $142 million rebate that would have given some of this money back to taxpayers. After all, the surplus then would have really been tight - just $455,621,315.
The state of Georgia clearly does a much better job of handling our money than we do, so if its coffers are overflowing and our wallets are empty, we should just be glad that we still have wallets.
For those who miss the sarcasm, remember that Perdue made these cuts after dire claims that the state was facing a shortfall. Right after the governor made his vindictive cuts, the state revenue department suddenly cashed a backlog of checks. Shazam!
Lawmakers are rightly suspicious that the revenue supply was purposely made to look scant so Perdue's gloom-based vetoes would seem sensible. Now that he's been proven spectacularly wrong, we'll look forward to seeing his ideas for spending all the extra money - or his plans for sending it back to us.
Harbin to court
Speaking of lawmakers, state Rep. Ben Harbin is scheduled to appear in court in Atlanta Thursday on his charge of driving under the influence.
As I've said way too many times, he has the same rights as every other citizen to receive full access to all legal remedies. Unlike ordinary citizens, however, he does have an obligation to speak to his boss - that's you and me - about his situation.
He hasn't done enough of that. Other than a couple of mostly off-the-record conversations with a couple of news people and pundits, me included, Harbin has issued just one press release.
His only personal statement regarding the DUI came during the Columbia County Chamber of Commerce Post-Legislative Breakfast June 12. All the television cameras were outside at the time, waiting like rock-star groupies for Perdue's arrival.
I expect a few more cameras will be there Thursday.
Speaking of court, Federal U.S. District Judge Richard Story - a former Harlem boy - ruled last week that it's OK for Cobb County to open its meetings with prayer as long as a diverse group of clergy are invited to participate.
But Story said the county's planning commission violated the law when a clerk excluded some faiths from the pool of clergy. Because that practice ended two years ago, after the suit was filed, Story awarded the ACLU-backed plaintiffs just $1.
Columbia County taxpayers might not get off so lightly if such a suit is filed here. Both the County Commission and the School Board consistently open their meetings with prayers from Christian preachers.
Opening meetings with invocations from Baptists and Methodists is just peachy with me personally, but decades of case law says it isn't legal to turn a public forum into such a narrowly restricted pulpit.
If the attorneys need a reference, the case is BATS vs. Bobb County, Ga. They should probably look it up now rather than wait to see it as a citation in a lawsuit.
Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to barry.paschal at newstimesonline.com.
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