Smaller government. Lower taxes. More freedom.
That’s the mantra of the Georgia Libertarian Party, which, this year, is fielding candidates for a handful of state offices, including governor.
In Cherokee County, attorney and Libertarian Jeff Amason is running as a write-in candidate for the District 21 House seat. That seat is currently held by Scot Turner, a one-term Republican from Holly Springs.
Amason recently appeared on the Monica Perez Show on WSB radio to discuss his candidacy and priorities, including reining in state spending.
"The state budget has increased almost $800 million a year in each of the last two years. You can only imagine what it might be in five years," Amason said. "We need to be funding essential programs. We don’t need to be funding every program out there."
With the economy making a slow but steady recovery, we decided to fact check Amason’s budget claims.
We contacted him, and he sent us budget figures for the state fiscal years 2012, 2013 and 2014, as well as for the current fiscal year, which started July 1.
That data showed that the total state budget grew from $18.5 billion in 2012 to $19.3 billion in Fiscal 2013 and to $20.2 billion in 2014.
That’s a jump of $800 million between 2012 to 2013 and a $900 million increase between 2013 to 2014.
We confirmed the accuracy of Amason’s numbers using budget documents available at the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget website. (We didn’t compare the 2014 and 2015 budgets because the General Assembly will amend the 2015 spending plan in the legislative session that starts in January.)
Helping to drive up the recent state budgets were increases in enrollment in public schools, Medicaid and the state’s health insurance program for children, as well as pension costs, according to state documents.
Current spending levels are 26.7 percent above 2005 levels, not adjusted for inflation, an OPB report shows.
In summary, Amason said the state budget increased nearly $800 million a year in each of the last two years. He was very close, if not conservative in his assessment..
We rate his statement True.