• Matt Gurtler

Week 6: Amending Budgets, Amending Immunity

Another week, another budget, another vote.

This week the House finally submitted its amended budget to bring it to a vote. Along with one other Republican, my friend Rep. Colton Moore, I voted No on this bill.

It is a complicated issue, as it has been advertised as “budget cuts,” yet this really is not the case.

The amended budget is usually excess revenue from the previous fiscal year, and because they are spending less money than they planned to spend, they call it a “cut.”

This, however, is misleading, as it is still providing for more bonds (aka: “debt”), and is therefore not a true “cut.”

The better decision would have been to maintain the state spending according to the budget provided for last year, or better make real cuts, and use the so-called excess revenue to pay off debt or at least pay for the new spending in the 2021 budget we will be voting on soon.

While there were good things in the bill, I cannot in good faith vote for something that expands government spending (and therefore hurt private industry) on things that are not appropriate for the government to fund while expanding our state’s debt.

This is why HB 4 is so important so that we can break up this omnibus-style budget bill and individualize each department and open debate on our state spending.

Each item being voted on based on its own merits.

Why should rural legislators be forced to pay for mass transit in Atlanta just because the establishment attaches that spending to teacher or law enforcement pay for example?

I contend that mass transit is not the proper role of government and that the free market does a better job anyway, but we should at least be able to debate the issue.

There are, however, some good bills that came to the floor.

One of those bills was HR 1023, which provides a waiver of immunity for government acts that are violations of rights acknowledged in either the Georgia or United States Constitution.

Put as simply as possible, this means that under this bill, citizens whose rights are violated by the government would be able to sue the government and seek a declaratory judgment against the State.

I know this seems like common sense when someone violates your rights you should have the right to use our justice system and rule of law to make it right.

Generally, the state government deems itself immune to lawsuits, so in order to sue the state government, the state government must first waive its immunity.

Because this resolution results in the relinquishment of government power, I voted Yes on it.

As always, it’s an honor to serve.

Matt Gurtler

(706) 490-2285