Newly elected Speaker David Ralston has set a collaborative and optimistic new tone in assuming leadership of the Georgia House of Representatives. We look forward to working with the Speaker on many issues. He, like us, is focused first and foremost, on the State’s budget situation. At the Georgia Chamber of Commerce’s annual Eggs and Issues breakfast today, Speaker Ralston stated that the dire budget situation presents legislators with an opportunity to restructure government and reexamine what the core functions of state government should be.

Focusing on the big picture and not just the crisis at hand is the right idea. But, I hope this doesn’t become only an exercise about shrinking government. Let’s focus on both the business capital and the vital human capital that will be necessary to position Georgia for a prosperous future. Of course, we should evaluate efficiencies and determine where there are too many entities with tiny pieces of programs that would be better managed by consolidation.  We should also continue funding and perhaps even bolster programs that work. By investing programs that have been proven to provide better outcomes for our children, we will create the potential for the renewed prosperity of our state.

As they look towards the future, legislators should ensure that government works better and more transparently for the citizens it serves.  Let’s ensure that all agencies- both in government and the private sector- that serve children, for example, actually have a place to discuss sharing agendas, programs, and resources.  

Who knows? This may even be the time to study the successes that other states have had with  Children’s Cabinets and institute something similar here in Georgia.