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Budget Task Force Presents Final Recommendations to Lt. Governor Cagle and Senate Leadership

Budget Task Force Presents Final Recommendations to Lt. Governor Cagle and Senate Leadership

March 16, 2010

Report Provides 50 Recommendations to CutState Spending

(Atlanta, GA) – Today, the Budget Task Force presented Lt. Governor Casey Cagle a final report outlining 50 recommendations focusing on long-term budget solutions.  If all recommendations were fully implemented, the projected cost savings would total over $3 billion.  The group was tasked with identifying new ways to cut state spending without drastic cuts to essential services or raising taxes in this economy. 

 “As we face some extremely difficult budget decisions this session, we want to make the fiscally responsible decisions now that will position our state for economic growth and job creation.  We need to think toward the future and implement systemic reforms that will change the way we operate and prevent another shortfall this significant.   It is vital that we maintain our AAA Bond Rating, which is a ‘good housekeeping’ seal of approval on the fiscal strength of our state,” said Lt. Governor Casey Cagle. “None of the recommendations are quick fixes and I look forward to studying each of the proposals, along with the Senate, to determine which make the most sense for Georgia.  I want to express my appreciation to each member of the Task Force for the considerable effort and time given to advance fundamental reform in state government with a fiscally conservative and business-minded approach.”

“It is clear that our state leaders are proactively looking for ways to confront the budget challenges our state faces with the future in mind. We focused our efforts on areas where we could bring real-world value of new efficiencies, consolidation, and seizing opportunities even under difficult conditions, just as private sector businesses are doing everyday in this economy.   This exercise proved beneficial for all participants and we are hopeful that some of these recommendations will provide the structural changes necessary to put Georgia on the right trajectory for the future,” said Ed Heys, Atlanta Deputy Managing Partner of Deloitte& Touche.

After cutting over $2 billion from the state budget in the 2009 session and still faced with an additional $1.5 billion shortfall, Cagle, along with Senate leadership, announced early in the legislative session the formation of a Budget Task Force. The Budget Task Force brought together experienced business leaders and accounting professionals who held a total of 7 meetings and participated in extensive work sessions.

While some of the 50 specific recommendations can impact the state budget this year, the majority of the recommendations are focused on long-term budget solutions including consolidation and streamlining of state services and greater efficiencies. For example, the Task Force recommends the state increase shared services, particularly in human resources, payroll, accounting, and classroom curriculum development.  Industry standards for of human resources personnel to employees: are 1:195 but the state operates at 1:115 and smaller state agencies operate at 1:88.  

To view the full report, click on the following link:

http://ltgov.georgia.gov/00/article/0,2086,2199618_2199664_157503072,00.html

The Budget Task Force Members are as follows:

Max Blocker – Partner, Assurance, PricewaterhouseCoopers

Max Blocker is an Atlanta based Assurance Partner with over 23 years of experience serving a broad range of companies within the Fortune 1000 as well as midcap public and private multinational companies. In addition, he has served in a variety of leadership roles within PricewaterhouseCoopers during his career including Market Assurance Leader for the Greater Atlanta Assurance Practice (states of Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee) and as the Southeast Regional Leader of the Commercial and Industrial Industry Group Practice. He is a Certified Public Accountant.

Monye Connolly - President, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia Inc

In 2006, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia (BCBSGa), the state’s largest health benefits provider announced the appointment of Monye Connolly as president.   Connolly, who joined the company in 1986, most recently served as vice president and general manager of BCBSGa’s individual and small group business.

Greg Duncan - President North American Operations, UCB Inc.

Greg Duncan is President, North American Operations at UCB, Inc. and is responsible for providing leadership and strategic direction to all aspects of the biopharmaceutical’s operations in both the United States and Canada.  Duncan joined UCB in 2007 as President of European Operations. In 2008, he became President of Operations for both Europe and Emerging Markets (Asia, Af/ME, Latin America). 

Edward Heys - Atlanta Deputy Managing Partner, Deloitte& Touche LLP

With over 27 years of experience with the firm, Ed primarily serves companies in the banking and financial services industries.  Deloitte& Touche has over 2,000 professionals in Atlanta and Ed serves as the Deputy Managing Partner for the Atlanta and Birmingham offices.

Ronnie Labrato – Executive Vice President, CFO and Treasurer, Georgia Power Company

As Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer, is responsible for Georgia Power’s accounting and finance functions.  Georgia Power is the largest subsidiary of Southern Company, with over 7,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity. Ronnie has 30 years of experience with Southern Company and its affiliates. He is a Certified Public Accountant.

Kelly McCutchen - President, Georgia Public Policy Foundation

McCutchen is president of GPPF, an independent think tank that proposes practical, market-oriented approaches to public policy to improve the lives of Georgians. He was Assistant Vice President in the Trust Department of Trust Company Bank in Atlanta before joining the Foundation in 1993.  Kelly writes on education, tax, health care and economic policy. He has served on the boards of the Georgia Tech Alumni Association and Leadership Georgia and currently chairs the Governing Board of Tech High, a math, science and technology-focused public charter school in Atlanta.

Suzanne Sitherwood – President, Atlanta Gas Light

Sitherwood was named President of Atlanta Gas Light in 2004. Primary among her responsibilities is executive oversight of the three utilities – Atlanta Gas Light, Chattanooga Gas and FloridaCity Gas. As vice president, Sitherwood directed the natural gas distribution infrastructure, gas control, gas measurement, marketer relations, customer-related services, interstate pipeline relationships, asset management, and management of storage facilities.