Tom’s vote: YES
The FY 2016 Budget is set by a revenue estimate of $23.7 billion. While, in nominal terms, this budget is the largest ever proposed, in reality, FY 2017 per capita spending under this budget – when adjusted for inflation and population growth – is on par with 1998 levels. For reference, Georgia’s population has grown by nearly 2 million people between 2000 and 2014.
The FY 2017 budget includes $124.1 million for enrollment growth along with an additional $300 million going to local school system to offset austerity cuts allowing systems to eliminate furlough days, increase instructional days, and provide teacher pay raises. Additionally, the budget includes $28.6 million in additional lottery funds to increase the pay for pre-k teachers and their assistants.
Investing in attracting and retaining high-quality teachers is paramount to Georgia’s longterm economic success. With fewer students studying education and less eventually pursuing a career education, the Governor’s budget builds on previous years’ investments in education to restore austerity cuts and better compensate our teachers. Our educators carry the future of our great state on their shoulders – they should be rewarded for their hard work.
$29.4 million for Move-On When Ready
This program is a real-world example of competency-based education that allows students the flexibility to learn at their pace and often times get a head-start on college or a career.
Additional $59.1 million for the HOPE and Zell Miller scholarships to account for the growth in the number of high-performing eligible-students staying in-state for college.
College students and their parents will not see a tuition increase across USG institutions due to the diligence of the General Assembly and Governor in providing adequate funding.
Additional career field added to the Strategic Industries Workforce Development Grant (SIDWG)– eligible students receive this award in addition to the HOPE grant for pursuing in-demand careers.
- Add: Industrial Maintenance (including Machine Tool Technology)
- Current: Certified Engineer Assistant, Commercial Truck Driving, Computer Technology, Diesel Equipment Technology, Early Childhood Care & Education, Health Science, Movie Production Set Design, Practical Nursing, Precision Manufacturing, and Welding and Joining Technology.
$825 million in additional transportation funding.
- To put this funding in context, prior to passage of HB 170, Georgians could expect to see their roads resurfaced every 50 years…now, they can expect such maintenance to occur every 12 to 15 years.
$100 million in bond money for bridge renovation and replacements.
- Given that the American Road and Transportation Builders Association estimates that 61,000 bridges across the U.S. to be structurally deficient, this is a necessary investment in the safety of all Georgians.
The FY 2017 budget includes rate increases for a number of critical health service providers including primary care and OB/GYN providers as well as occupational and physical therapists within the Children’s Intervention Services (CIS) program that provides rehab services to children with physical disabilities and developmental delays. The budget includes funds for the creation of new residency programs in emergency medicine, OB/GYN services, and rural healthcare.
Rainy Day Fund: In partnership with the Governor, we as House Republicans have taken necessary steps to restore our state’s Rainy Day Fund to its current level of over $1.4 billion – equal to what we were forced to use during the Great Recession.
Bond Package: The FY 2017 Budget provides for a $953 million bond package – maintaining a debt service ratio for the state of 5.8% – well below the constitutional limit of 10%.\
- 62% of this package is appropriated for K-12 education, higher education, and public libraries.
- 11% of this package is dedicated to transportation projects.
- 10% is dedicated to public safety projects including law enforcement equipment and correctional facility repairs.
- 16% of this package is spent on health, general government, and economic development agencies including funds to match federal funds for drinking water and sewer loans.