By: Sen. Burt Jones (R – Jackson)

This week, the Georgia General Assembly took a break from days in the chamber to focus on Governor Kemp’s recommendations for the Amended Fiscal Year 2021 (AFY21) and General Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22) budgets. While many other states are cutting their agency budgets and contemplating staff furloughs, Governor Kemp’s proposed budgets include “no new cuts to state agencies and departments, no furloughs, and no widespread layoffs of state employees.” I want to commend the administration, agencies, elected officials, and all stakeholders for making this possible. Most importantly, I want to thank the citizens of Georgia who never ceased their commitment to keep Georgia’s businesses and economy growing.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic setbacks, hardships and unforeseen circumstances, our citizens never gave up on ensuring our state’s economy wouldn’t be deeply impacted by these unprecedented times. The administration and Georgia General Assembly’s fiscally conservative budgeting and preparation provided a strong economic foundation that keeps Georgia moving despite a year of unknowns. Our businesses, large and small, found ways to innovate and respond, like making personal protective equipment. Our health care workforce – the unsung heroes of this pandemic – never stopped showing up and continued to work saving lives and keep Georgians healthy. Numerous other citizens who may have lost jobs used their skills to help in new sectors or volunteered to help local communities keep moving forward during the last year.

We should all be proud of the preparation and work the administration, Georgia General Assembly and citizens of Georgia did to move our economy in the right direction. Instead of budget cuts and furloughs, the AFY21 and FY22 budgets have increases within key programs. This is a result of tax revenues coming in stronger than predicted, federal assistance through CARES Act funding and proper planning within our state.

Below are some key highlights of the Governor’s proposals from the AFY21 and FY22 budgets:

  • More than $647 million in AFY21 and $573 million in FY22 for K-12 education.
  • A one-time supplement of $1,000 per teacher and other school system employees.
  • Nearly $40 million in FY22 to establish a Rural Innovation Fund.
  • $20 million in AFY21 and $10 million in FY22 to establish a broadband infrastructure grant program.
  • Around $9 million in AFY21 for the Georgia Trauma Care Network Commission.
  • $25 million in AFY21 and FY22 for Forestland Protection Act grants to offset property tax losses in rural communities.
  • $1 million in AFY21 for a marketing campaign to promote Georgia tourism.
  • $2.6 million in FY22 for Georgia Health Care Workforce for 188 new residency slots in primary care medicine.
  • $2 million in FY22 in bonds to furnish and provide equipment for the SubAcute Therapy Unit at the Georgia War Veterans Nursing Home in Milledgeville located in Senate District 25.
  • $3 million in FY22 to the Department of Public Safety for a one 75-person trooper school.
  • $56 million in FY22 in bond funds for the construction of the new Department of Public Safety headquarters.

At the conclusion of the hearings this week, the House Appropriations Subcommittees will start department hearings on the AFY21 budget and to consider any additional changes. Once they approve the AFY21 budget, the Senate will begin our deliberations and review. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I look forward to working on the AFY21 budget and keeping you updated regarding any changes or concerns. Once the AFY21 budget is finalized, we will turn our work to the FY22 budget.

Please review Governor Kemp’s recommendations here: https://opb.georgia.gov/afy-2021-and-fy-2022-governors-budget-report. If you have any questions or need additional information on the AFY21 and FY22 budget proposals, please do not hesitate to reach out. My staff and I are here to help!

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Sen. Burt Jones represents the 25th Senate District which includes Baldwin, Butts, Greene, Jasper, Morgan and Putnam counties and portions of Bibb, Jones and Walton counties.  He may be reached at 404.656.0082 or via email at burt.jones@senate.ga.gov.

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