With the 2011 sesssion of the Georgia General Assembly winding down, lawmakers officially will be in recess this week, working in committees and preparing for the session’s final couple days the week after.
While there is still much work to be done on many fronts, the big item remaining — as is always the case — is the state budget for the coming year, one fashioned during tough economic times to reflect some harsh fiscal realities.
Much of what happens within the complexities of that budget will impact Forsyth County, but one line item of particular interest is the proposed funding for the future site of a campus for North Georgia College & State University planned for Cumming.
The Senate version of the state budget approved last week included $3 million for the project.
The House earlier had approved its version of the budget, and this week’s conference committee work will go a long way toward deciding what spending plan emerges for a final vote and eventually submission to the governor.
Acknowledging that state dollars are tough to come by these days, we hope legislators next week will be able to retain the college funding in the spending plan for the coming year.
As we have stated in the past, having a local college campus operated by North Georgia would be a major boon to the county. A facility that allows local residents to pursue traditional academic degrees would be a compliment to the post-secondary opportunities already available in the vocational fields through Lanier Technical College.
That funding for the future campus has made it this far through the budget process is a tribute to the efforts of elected officials at both the state and local levels. We hope those efforts will continue, and will prove suffient to retain funding in the final budget.
A satellite campus of North Georgia in Cumming would be good for the city, good for the county, and good for the state of Georgia. It is the sort of investment that makes sense, even in tough economic times.