Morris News Service learned that the task force has already met twice, once during a conference call with Cagle when he outlined their assignment and once for a briefing by Senate budget analysts. The goal is to shift the focus from the doom and gloom of serial budget cuts needed to adjust to each new report of weak tax collections and instead begin looking ahead several years with a plan for a restructured government designed to thrive on less revenue.
Cagle, a small-business owner and bank-board member, is relying on business professionals to use their experience paring their own companies back during the recession. He used a similar approach last year when he asked Sen. Mitch Seabaugh, R-Sharpsburg, to look for redundancies and inefficiencies in government based on Seabaugh’s professional experience in corporate finance. Cagle has discussed his idea with Gov. Sonny Perdue and presumed-House Speaker David Ralston.
Perdue appointed his own panel of corporate executives, the Commission for a New Georgia, who have offered a range of recommendations, from consolidating office space owned by the state to modernizing management of the state’s fleet of automobiles.
While governors often recruit outside advisors, legislative chambers don’t.
In the General Assembly, so-called study committees are often created to research issues between legislative sessions, usually made up exclusively of lawmakers and offering their recommendations either jointly to the House and Senate or to one of the chambers. However, no chamber in recent memory has called on a committee entirely of outsiders to research during a legislative session and report back before adjournment.
The committee will have no official power to act beyond offering suggestions that will still have to be approved by the membership of the Senate, the House and even Perdue. It is expected to make its report in early February, which is usually before the Senate has a chance to consider the budget.