Governor's Office of Planning and Budget: http://opb.georgia.gov/02/opb/
ATLANTA - Hearings on Georgia's budget have opened at the state Capitol, with newly installed Gov. Nathan Deal outlining his $18.2 billion spending plan to state lawmakers.
Deal said Tuesday there are reasons to be optimistic - the number of Georgians working has increased and consumer confidence is up.
But the state is also facing the loss of about $1 billion in federal stimulus money for the fiscal year that begins July 1. Deal said state agencies will be asked to take an average cut of 7 percent for fiscal year 2012. That comes on top of three years of back-to-back cuts.
Tuesday's joint meeting of the House and Senate Appropriations committees is the first step for the Legislature as they take up Deal's budget blueprint.