Georgia reduces its borrowing

Georgia reduces its borrowing

September 20th, 2011 in Opinion Free Press

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal

So far as we can tell from Tennessee, our neighbors to the south in Georgia made a sound decision in selecting Republican former U.S. Rep. Nathan Deal as their governor in the last election. He has led Georgia ably and conservatively on matters ranging from illegal immigration to fiscal management.

Most recently, we were gratified to read that Deal is going in the opposite direction from our federal government on the issue of borrowing and spending.

He cut the state's bonding almost in half in his first budget, The Associated Press noted in an article under the headline, "Georgia borrowing dips under Deal's tenure." For instance, he vetoed more than $40 million worth of borrowing for a range of projects in higher education -- including an $18 million marine biology building at Savannah State University.

Deal is not "anti-education," but he realizes that in a time of crisis, when government revenue is down, there has to be belt tightening, not only in the private sector but in government, too.

The pain of big debt is especially clear when you consider that because of spending prior to Deal's administration, Georgia has $9.2 billion in outstanding bonds -- and pays about $1.2 billion annually to service that debt.

The governor is commendably resisting calls for Georgia to borrow more money as a form of "stimulus." He recognizes that the artificial priming of the jobs pump by government is no substitute for real jobs generated by free enterprisers in response to real market demand.

Applauding Deal's wise stewardship, Kelly McCutchen, the head of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, told The Associated Press, "States are not in the business of borrowing money to stimulate the economy."

That's true, and it's a lesson that we wish our deeply indebted federal government would learn.