28 Jan NEWS FROM THE STATE CAPITOL: WEEK 2
Laws that can negatively impact veterinarians, animals, or animal health should never be passed. Your GVMA membership gives our profession a voice. Together, we’re able to keep veterinary medicine in our state uncompromised.
Budget Week Jan 24, 2020
DEPARTMENTS PLAN FOR CUTS
This is the first in several years that projections show state revenue in decline. As a result, Governor Brian Kemp instructed agencies to cut four percent from their 2020 budgets and six percent from their 2021 budgets. Agencies have proposed reorganization, furlough days, elimination of positions, and an increased use of technology as a way to streamline operations and cut costs.
Commissioner Black Warns That Food Safety & Meat Inspection Could Be Compromised by Budget Cuts
Despite hopes that the public would not notice a reduction in services, Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black said that would not be the case in his office. In one of the more dire presentations to lawmakers, Black warned that critical work in food safety and meat inspection could be compromised. The Department noted they’ve terminated contracts with four call-center employees to reduce costs. In addition to having to cut existing programming, Black’s department is also seeking an additional $1 million to provide oversight of Georgia’s new industrial hemp farming, which was legalized in last year’s General Assembly.
Specific to veterinarians, the Governor’s budget appears to transfer operations of the Athens and Tifton Veterinary Laboratories from the Department of Agriculture to the University System. It reduces maintenance funds allocated to the Veterinary Medicine Experiment Station at the University of Georgia by $190,000. It does not appear to reduce funding for service cancelable loans available to large animal veterinarians.
The budget process is far from over. With the Governor’s recommendations in hand as a blueprint, lawmakers in the House will now make their own spending decisions.