New Georgia governor boldly challenges state bureaucrats to find savings in order to ward off a potential tax hike.

WASHINGTON – Today, Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue (R) asked state department heads to help him find enough budget cuts to avoid the massive tax increases he proposed last week. The proposal is designed to avert a massive tax hike that would cost Georgia taxpayers millions of dollars.

Perdue, Georgia\’s first Republican governor since Reconstruction, told state lawmakers last week that the state is facing a $620 million shortfall this fiscal year. Currently, 44 states are facing overspending commitments that threaten taxpayers. Many of those state treasuries found themselves drowning in overcollected tax surpluses when the economy boomed in the late 1990s, but as the economy cooled and tax revenues dried up, found themselves committed to spending money that did not exist.

"Raising taxes in a rebounding economy is economic suicide – it is a policy that encourages workers not to work and small businesses not to produce," said taxpayer advocate Grover Norquist, who heads Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) in Washington. "Governor Perdue\’s bold move to save taxpayers from further burden deserves strong praise from every working man and woman in Georgia."

"We are going to dig under every rock we can find to save money" to avoid raising taxes, said Perdue this morning. "We are going to have to dig deeper. We are going to have to find the things in the budget we can do without," he continued.

The move rescinds Perdue\’s earlier proposal to cover the $620 million in overspending with cigarette, beer, wine, and spirit tax increases.

"Hiking taxes is bad policy, especially in a rebounding economy," continued Norquist, "and Perdue has boldly challenged the legislature to meet his challenge of cutting spending instead of raising taxes."