This week we held Joint House and Senate Appropriations hearings to go over the Amended Fiscal Year 2024 (AFY 2024) and the Fiscal Year 2025 (FY 2025) budgets.
Now the House Appropriations subcommittees will begin to meet separately to review specific portions of the budget and delve deeper into the state agencies’ budget needs.
Virtual Town Hall – mark your calendar!
My first town hall for this session will be on January 30th from 7:00-8:30 pm. State Senator Sonya Halpern and I will bring you the latest news from the Gold Dome and answer your questions. Please register for the event here.
The only mandate for the Legislature each year is to pass a balanced state budget and this week was all about the money!
State economist Bob Bushman started the hearings on day one by predicting a mild recession in the first half of this year based on several economic indicators, including a decline in sales tax revenue. You can read more about his report here. I think it is important to realize this is an opinion and we all know that certain economists have been predicting a recession for over a year—and it has yet to happen. We should always be vigilant and responsible with spending and looking around the corner for an economic slowdown, but we cannot pretend politics doesn’t creep into these predictions. Further, it is undeniable that we have record surpluses right now and more in the “rainy day” fund that anyone has ever suggested was a necessary amount to hold.
The AFY 2024 budget (HB915), will appropriate spending for the remainder of the current fiscal year ending on June 30 and accounts for any differences between last year’s projected revenue estimate and actual revenue obtained. Based on updated revenue estimates, the AFY 2024 budget will include approximately $5.06 billion in additional revenue that our state can utilize over the next six months. This adjustment brings the total appropriation for the Fiscal Year 2024 budget to $37.51 billion. You can read more about the AFY 2024 budget here, as well as any other budget documents.
The FY 2025 (HB916) budget, will determine state spending for the upcoming fiscal year beginning on July 1, 2024, and ending on June 30, 2025. The FY 2025 budget is set at a revenue estimate of $36 billion. You can read more about the FY 2025 budget here.
Each year the Governor proposes his budget and the legislature either agrees or makes changes to that budget, but the Governor’s recommendations are our starting point.
A few of the Governor’s budget proposal highlights:
Governor Kemp’s FY25 budget proposal includes additional raises for teachers, funding for statewide literacy coaching, $205 million for school transportation, and $104 million for school safety. The department is also requesting $7 million for testing.
$382 million to provide a $2,500 salary enhancement for certified K-12 school personnel.
$104 million to establish the School Security Grant program.
$315 million to provide a $1,000 one-time salary supplement for state employees, certificated K-12 employees, and Pre-K teachers and assistant teachers. These supplements were already paid out at the end of last year, before their approval through the legislative budget process. There is an ongoing debate on whether this is constitutional.
GDOT has 3,900 employees with a goal to increase above 4,000 employees. There is a $58m increase from Motor Fuel monies interest and $1.56B from the State General Funds. Of the $1.56B, $659M will go towards existing projects and keep them all moving forward, $200m will support local transportation infrastructure projects, $32m towards routine maintenance, $641m will fund capital infrastructure projects that promote freight and logistics efficiency and safety. A bulk of new GDOT revenue is being used for capital maintenance, like bridges and resurfacing.
Kemp recommends for the 2025 budget utilizing an existing $685,903 and also increasing funds to expand home visits for expecting mothers to decrease infant mortality, and maternal mortality, and improve birth outcomes in rural Georgia.
$1 million to expand access to mental health services for Georgia’s military service members, veterans, and their families, as well as a total increase of $205 million for the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities and other entities that address mental health in our state. $9 million has been requested for a new behavioral health crisis center.
$637,940 will be going to the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program in the 2024 amended budget.
The fiscal 20225 budget proposes $2,000 salary enhancements for Department of Community Health nurse managers and specialists.
Reminder – House Page Program
The House Page Program is for Georgia’s students between 12 and 18 years of age and older to visit the State Capitol, learn about the legislative process, and help facilitate business on the House floor by relaying messages between legislators and citizens and lobbyists, delivering copies of legislation, and performing other tasks.
This year each House member has only have 5 slots per representative. If your child would like to apply to serve as a page this Legislative Session, please fill out the form on the official House Page site linked here and follow the instructions. If you have any questions, please reach out to my Chief of Staff, Kennedie McClung at [email protected]
Friends don’t let friends be uninformed
Help your neighbors stay informed and encourage them to subscribe to the newsletter. You can check the boundaries of District 57 here to find friends who may want to keep up with the goings on under the Gold Dome. Anyone (in the district or not) can subscribe to this newsletter by visiting my website and filling out the form on the front page. Each one reach one!
As always, it is an honor to represent you under the Gold Dome. Please continue to reach out to me with your questions and thoughts on legislation. Also, please remember I’m here to help with issues you may encounter with state agencies.