"For the past decade, we have watched as our state's economic condition has spiraled downward. State revenue projections have missed the mark month after month. We head into a new state budget cycle with a $400 million deficit in Medicaid spending and an additional $400 million deficit from our missed revenue projections," said Sen. Steve Henson, leader of the Senate Democratic Caucus.
Henson said working Georgians have seen two decades worth of economic progress disappear.
"Our families have seen depressed wages, decreased wealth and historically high poverty," Henson said. "Median household income fell by nearly $2,000 between 2010 and 2011 - its lowest point since the early 1990s. Our legislative agenda includes a number of reasonable and responsible solutions to help repair our state economy and to advance business through a better public education system."
Senate Democrats' 2013 agenda contains legislative proposals that would improve government transparency, examine current tax loopholes provided to large corporations, expand Medicaid to grow the state budget and ensure more Georgians have access to health care, and provide additional resources for public education.
Democrats say that continued budget cuts to crucial programs, most importantly the public education system, undermines the path to the state's full recovery and exacerbate the hardship of Georgia families.
"The bone-deep budget cuts of recent years, instead of pursuing a more balanced economic approach, has prevented Georgia from climbing out of the recession. It is what keeps our state ranked 42nd in unemployment, 39th in household income and 48th in high graduation," said Sen. Vincent Fort, caucus whip.
Fort said that Republican leadership is treading water.
Democrats believe that only by coupling strategic investments in the future with the revenue needed to pay for them will Georgia have a chance of building an economy that works for everyone.
"Make no mistake. It isn't just the economic recession or general economy that holds Georgia back - it is our current governance and poorly determined economic priorities," said Sen. Horacena Tate, caucus chairwoman.
Henson said it will take good ideas from everyone, regardless of party affiliation, to help solve the state's poor economic progress.
More information about the Senate Democratic Caucus' legislative package visit www.gasenatedems.com