Georgia County Government - January/February 2012 - (Page 24)

Feature Washington D.C. Update By Holland & Knight T his issue’s column provides a snapshot of recent and upcoming issues in Washington, D.C. that will continue to impact the political landscape. It also reviews the tumultuous deficit-reduction activity in the last few months of 2011 and take place under the normal operating rules of Congress, rather than the expedited budget rules - giving more time for input, broader consideration and potentially more conversation on the more controversial issues. On the other hand, it is an election year — and a big one at that: 2012 will likely be the most contentious Presidential campaign in recent history on top of potential party sweeps in both the House and Senate. Every potential outcome will undoubtedly factor into the political calculus of debt negotiations. provides an overview of what to expect in the coming months. Looking Forward: The U.S. Federal Budget for 2013 Thanks to a last minute deal before the holiday break, the federal government is now in operation for FY2012. As the new year begins, the President will give his State of the Union in January and present his FY2013 budget to Congress for consideration in February which Congress is supposed to pass by July. As of late, the budgetary process has not been easy. Add to the mix that 2012 is an election year, and it looks like it is going to be a rough road ahead. The United States is facing significant budgetary challenges. Annual budget deficits occur when spending exceeds revenues, which in turn, puts the government in a position of borrowing to cover shortfalls. In FY2011, the federal budget deficit was $1.3 trillion which was the third-largest shortfall in the past 43 years. For FY2013, the President has set ceilings on total discretionary spending and a target of $2.4 trillion in total deficit reduction over the next decade. He more than likely will not include the cuts he will need to make in military and domestic spending under the assumption that sequestration will go into effect on January 2, 2013, which the Budget Control Act does not require. The Republican and Democratic parties have very fundamental differences in how the federal government should control spending while developing sound public policy that will stimulate the economy and create jobs. The introduction of the President’s budget is the first step in setting the tenor and tone of how the Obama Administration and the U.S. Congress will engage in 2012. Holland & Knight will be following the budget process very closely and keeping a watchful eye on funding for programs that are vital to local governments. ■ Holland & Knight’s Public Policy & Regulation Group uses its in-depth understanding of governmental operations and political perspectives to help advance our clients’ strategic objectives and solve problems. For these reasons, Association County Commissioners of Georgia (ACCG) has chosen Holland & Knight as its federal advocacy partner. For more information about federal policy issues, contact Senior Policy Advisor Shawna Watley at (202) 828-5083 or or Legislative Assistant Paolo Mastrangelo at (202) 469-5153 or The failure of the “Super Committee”, and what it means for 2012 The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (“Super Committee”), which was tasked by Congress and the White House with identifying $1.2 trillion in deficit-reduction, ultimately failed to reach a bipartisan deal last November. An agreement on a deficit reduction package would have avoided the painful sequestration (automatic spending cuts that would go into effect in 2013) process as mandated by the Budget Control Act — a scenario of cuts that puts squarely at risk many of the programs and funding streams that local governments have relied on for years. After nearly three months of reviewing mostly partisan proposals, the panel’s failure to find a compromise on taxes and entitlement programs leaves a range of federal programs, including defense, now subject to these automatic spending cuts. Democrats held the position that any deal would require some increase in revenues, while Republican proposals mostly relied on spending cuts and entitlement reform. As a result, Congress will spend much of 2012 working on ways to avoid the $1.2 trillion in automatic cuts, which would be equally divided between defense and non-defense spending. Unless Congress is able to set partisanship aside and reach agreement, the across-the-board cuts will occur over 10 years. This equals roughly $54.7 billion per year in cuts to defense and $54.7 billion per year in cuts to domestic spending. Programs not subject to the sequestration include: war financing; military pay, if the president opts to exempt; Social Security; Medicaid; the Children’s Health Insurance Plan (CHIP); the food stamp program; child nutrition; Supplemental Security Income; refundable tax credits such as the Earned Income Tax Credit; veterans benefits; Pell Grants; and federal employees’ retirement. With a year to take action, Republicans have already spoken out in support of protecting defense spending from receiving its full share of the automatic cuts. However, President Obama said that he will veto any attempt by Capitol Hill to roll back the $1.2 trillion. He said he would consider a deal that tweaks the sequestration formula as long as the $1.2 trillion target is met with a balanced approach. On the brighter side, any negotiation process this year will presumably be much more inclusive than the Super Committee and would 24 GEORGIA COUNTY GOVERNMENT

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia County Government - January/February 2012

President’s Message
Director’s Desk
Guest Editorial: Together We Stand
Harris County: Smart Investments Paying Dividends for the Future
EMS Delivery Models in Georgia
How New EMS Technologies are Improving Patient Care
Regional EMS: Opportunities for Better Service and Lower Costs?
EMS Leadership Course Planned
Washington D.C. Update
Georgia Public Safety Radio Systems Must Transition to Narrowbanding
Fulton County Public Works Recognized with APWA Accreditation
Extension News: Teens Solving Community Problems
News & Notes
Index of Advertisers

Georgia County Government - January/February 2012