After last week's newsletter on the governor's budget proposal, several of you reached out to me expressing interest in receiving more information about the budget process. As a result, I thought it would be beneficial for each of you to see in more detail the individual subcommittee reports that make up our state's proposed budget. This link will take you to the budget documents.
Next week, legislators will break the budget down in appropriations meetings designated by subcommittee subject to focus on the intricate details of each report. We do this in an effort to find budget efficiency and determine the best use of your hard-earned tax dollars. One of the focal points of our agenda this year is creating fiscal responsibility and limited government. Reduction of wasteful spending is one specific way we can manage this promise. As always, if you have any questions regarding this process, please feel free to reach out to me. I am happy to address you questions.
Presidential Primaries are quickly approaching and will be held in Georgia on March 6, 2012 with early voting beginning as early as February 12. Many overseas Georgians and those serving in the military are already casting absentee ballots. What you may not realize is that counties are in the process now of preparing their voting machines for advance voting and Election Day voting. Therefore, it is likely that the candidates who have dropped out will still appear on both the absentee ballots and the voting machines. Only if a candidate submits a notarized affidavit of withdrawal will notices be placed in precincts to inform voters that the candidate has withdrawn, and votes for that candidate will not count. I encourage you to think about the type of impact you hope that your vote will have during this election and specifically during the primary. Weigh the options of voting early when a vote for that candidate may not carry the weight you had once hoped for if the candidate you choose is no longer in the race come March 6. Remember, your vote may very well determine the next president of the United States.
Lastly, tax season is upon us and many of you are gathering the forms and documents necessary to file your state and federal tax returns. Many of you may be eligible to utilize beneficial services offered by the government to save money and expedite your refunds.
To take advantage of free tax preparation services at the federal level, The Free File Alliance, a coalition of industry-leading tax software companies, has partnered with the Internal Revenue Service to launch the 2012 IRS Free File Program. This year taxpayers with a 2011 Adjusted Gross Income of $57,000 or less may visit www.irs.gov to prepare, complete and e-file their federal tax returns at no cost.
The Georgia Department of Revenue has a similar program. Each and every eligible citizen should take advantage of these great programs in order to save valuable time and money filing and to speed up the amount of time it takes to receive your refund.
It is hard to believe that the month of January is almost over and we will be heading into our 4th week of the Legislative Session. I will continue to work hard to represent your interests at the State Capitol and urge you as community leaders, students, and citizens to visit me under the Gold Dome. I welcome the touch of home it brings and the reminder that everyday I open my office door I am here to do the business of the people of the 31st district.