State Representative Helen "Sistie" Hudson (D-Sparta) made two stops in Thomson recently to speak with civic clubs about the last legislative session.
"The session was not only the longest, but also the dreariest in history," Rep. Hudson said at the Thomson Rotary Club on Thursday, June 10. Rep. Hudson also spoke at the Thomson Kiwanis Club earlier in May. "Last year was difficult at best. The state was in the depths of the toughest period in the state's history since the Great Depression."
Rep. Hudson gave specific details of the decrease in the state's revenue, implemented reductions and budget adjustments.
"All in all, the economy is turning around, and people are spending money again," she said.
"There is hope."
She explained how stimulus funds were used to shore up the state's budget. Rep. Hudson said "the majority" of the $1,849,944,466 went to stabilize education. "It's pretty scary what would have happened to education without that money," she said.
In addition to education, stabilization funds went to the Department of Corrections, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Public Safety, Department of Juvenile Justice, Health and Human Services, Transportation and unemployment benefits.
Locally, Rep. Hudson said McDuffie County received:
*$3,413,608 for education
*$375,414 for transportation
*$395,209 for housing and community development
*$1,949,981 for employment.
"McDuffie County certainly received the greatest amount of any county I represent," Rep. Hudson said. "But you should have, because you are the most populous."
The Representative, who holds the District 124 seat in the Georgia House of Representatives, explained various House Bills and Senate Resolutions, explaining why she did or did not support each one.
"Many in Atlanta think that we have a spending problem. Others think we have a revenue problem. I actually think it's a little of both," she admitted.
Rep. Hudson said she feels "education has certainly been hit the hardest."
"This ole' gal thinks the state needs to re-think their spending priorities and include the outrageous amount of money the state borrows each year. ... Sure, bonds are cheap right now, but you still have to pay the money back," she said.
Rep. Hudson praised the continuation of the 4-H program, an additional tax break for Seniors, and a phasing out of state property taxes.
"I have truly enjoyed being with you today," she said. "And hopefully, we will meet again as soon as I'm on the campaign trail."