In his final year as Georgia’s Governor, Nathan Deal proposes a $26 billion dollar state budget recommendation that prioritizes education, workforce development, and transportation.
Deal released his budget on Thursday afternoon which includes budget priorities for building an educated workforce capable of future job demands, expanding and improving services for Georgia’s most vulnerable citizens, and continuing to invest in transportation infrastructure and economic development.
“The $26 billion in state appropriations included in this budget reflect seven years of investments in our state which have bolstered strong economic growth year after year,” said Deal. “Our conservative budgeting principles have ensured that Georgia is able to both fund current obligations and invest in our state’s long-term economic future. By focusing on key priorities such as workforce development, education, and transportation infrastructure, we will continue to move Georgia forward and ensure that our fiscal responsibility sustains economic growth in every corner of the state. Our financial leadership keeps Georgia competitive on a national level, resulting in Georgia earning the distinction of the No. 1 state in which to do business for five years in a row. I look forward to working with the General Assembly to turn these recommendations into a budget that will serve the needs of Georgians and provide meaningful investments for our state.”
Governor Deal continues to show that education and economic development are a top priority of his governorship. Over the last seven years under Deal’s leadership, education spending has increased over $3.6 billion. This brings the total expenditure for education to roughly $14 billion during his time as governor. Deal entered office with over $1 billion in austerity cuts to K-12 education. However, Deal’s budget does not completely bail out K-12 austerity cuts – K-12 schools are $166.7 million short fall under the state funding formula.
In his State of the State address, Deal lauds his efforts in economic development for the state which paved the way for prosperity for the film industry in Georgia. In the past 10 years, the film industry has generated $241 million in economic impact for the state. This past fiscal year alone, the film industry generated $9.5 billion in economic impact and has created over 92,000 jobs related to film in the state of Georgia.
Deal reminds Georgians of the $10 billion in transportation investments around the state and credits state transportation leadership for the gains in transportation improvements. Deal has proposed over $130 million dollars in transportation funding for FY2019.
Also, Deal stated in a sponsored Eggs and Issues breakfast that he would likely call the Georgia legislature back for a special session to lure Amazon to the state. Deal’s insatiable appetite to continue the mantra that Georgia is and will be the number one state with which to do business continues to be a priority to increase economic development. Currently, his state budget recommendations do not include a special session.
If approved by the General Assembly, the governor’s Fiscal Year 2019 budget will keep the Teacher’s Retirement pension system on sound financial footing by proposing more than $361 million to make the pension financially sound. Deal’s budget also provides additional early access to higher education for promising K-12 students. Over $22 million has been proposed to expand mental health services for children, and continue improving and expanding Georgia’s transportation infrastructure.
Amended FY 2018 budget highlights include:
- $102.1 million for a midterm adjustment for K-12 enrollment growth.
- $10.7 million for growth in the Dual Enrollment program.
- $43.6 million for the Indigent Care Trust Fund and Medicaid.
- $15.1 million for child welfare services to care for children in state custody.
- $2.4 million for autism services for children under 21.
- $17.6 million for Forestland Protection Act grants.
- $10 million for the OneGeorgia Authority for beach nourishment projects.
- $25.2 million for airport runway extension projects.
FY 2019 budget highlights include:
- $361.7 million for the Teachers Retirement System.
- $127.6 million for K-12 enrollment growth, training, and experience.
- $30 million to assist low-wealth school systems.
- $54.3 million for resident instruction at University System institutions.
- $5.9 million for operations for the Georgia Cyber Innovation and Training Center.
- $34.4 million for growth in the Dual Enrollment program.
- $255.9 million for Medicaid to fund growth and offset the loss of federal and other funds.
- $28.8 million for child welfare services to fund out-of-home care growth and foster care per diem increases.
- $5.9 million for autism crisis services for children under 21.
- $22.9 million to implement recommendations from the Commission on Children’s Mental Health.
- $5 million for accountability courts to implement new courts and expand existing courts.
- $31.7 million in new motor fuel funds for transportation.
- $100 million in bond funds to repair and replace bridges throughout the state.
The General Assembly will use the Governor Deal’s recommendations as a starting point to develop and pass the final state’s budget, which the governor will then sign or veto. The governor has the power to veto line items within the as-passed version. The final budgets specify how much state funding various agency programs will receive. The current fiscal year ends June 30, and fiscal year 2019 begins July 1.
Governor Deal completes his term in January of 2019.