ATLANTA -Triple-A rated Georgia ended fiscal 2008 on June 30 with revenues that were 1.1% lower than they were at the end of fiscal 2007. Collections reached $17.45 billion, a decrease of $190 million over the same year-to-date period last year.

The state as a result will use $600 million from its $1.5 billion of reserve funds to balance last year's budget.

Sales and use taxes totaled roughly $10.7 billion, compared to fiscal 2007 when they totaled $10.8 billion.

Individual income taxes were up .3% in fiscal 2008 at $8.85 billion. In fiscal 2007, they were $8.82 billion.

Susan Ridley, the newly appointed director of the Georgia Finance and Investment Commission, said she had been in touch with rating agency analysts to advise them of the state's finances.

"Georgia's experience is not unlike what other states have experienced," Ridley said, referring to the turmoil in the housing and financial markets.

Georgia benefits from having a diverse economy, especially in the Atlanta metro area, and from conservative management practices, said an investor.

The state doesn't use debt instruments, like auction-rate securities, that have hurt borrowers.

Lee McElhannon, director of bond finance for the finance and investment commission, said the state issued $300 million of variable-rate debt several years ago, and so far there are no plans to fix that debt out.

"We're not going to fix this debt out because it has had excellent performance over the past 18 months," McElhannon said, noting the state is triple-A rated.

He added that although the variable debt is performing well, there were no plans to issue more at this point. "We will continue to watch the market and we are staying abreast of what's happening," he said.

Georgia has about $1 billion of authorized, but unused debt. Ridley said that a sale has been tentatively scheduled for the fall, but the exact amount and date have not been set.

Georgia typically comes to market at least twice a year with deals that are in the $300 million to $500 million range.

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