The 153rd Georgia General Assembly had 40 days to debate everything from tax codes to medical marijuana. But one of the largest issues on the agenda was passing a budget that would run the state for an entire year.
This year’s budget is $49 billion (with $25 billion coming from state funding sources, like state income tax and sales tax). It is now in the hands of Gov. Nathan Deal, who has line item veto power over the proposed budget.
Passing a budget through both the State House and Senate is a unique challenge, given how diverse Georgia is in terms of demographics and geography. With over half of the state’s population living in the Metro Atlanta area, does the budget fairly represent and cover ATLproper and the rest of the Atlanta Metro? Understanding the budget breakdown is important, particularly as officials allocate taxes throughout our Blue city of Atlanta in the Red state of Georgia.
Below is a list of a few items that will have a noticeable impact on the people of ATLproper.
Impact On ATLproper:
1. $105 million for new Georgia Supreme Court Complex on Memorial Drive
2. $55 million to increase exhibition space at the Georgia World Congress Center
3. $485,000 to set up live video stream of State Committee meetings – making it easier for people all over the state to see what is going on inside the Atlanta-based State Capitol Building.
4. $10 million (plus $100 million in bonds) for infrastructure improvements around the state – roads and bridges
5. $745,223 for the Fulton County Board of Health district office (This is because last year Fulton County Board of Health was absorbed into the State Health Department after TB and HIV mishaps)
6. $2.8 million to rehabilitate 32 Xpress buses and purchase 12 more buses (This is different from MARTA and it is run by the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority GRTA. It serves Clayton, Cherokee, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry, Paulding, and Rockdale counties)
7. Teachers across the state will receive a 2% salary increase
8. 20% wage increase for state law enforcement officials, State Patrol Officers and those in the Bureau of Investigation
9. College scholarship programs such as Zell Miller and HOPE could receive close to $49.8 million in additional funds. Another $16.8 million will go towards growing the Move On When Ready dual enrollment program for high school students looking to take college courses
10. 31% of the budget comes from Federal funding, which will go towards PeachCare, Medicaid, school nutrition programs and the Department of Transportation. Georgia Legislatures are still scrambling to figure out what the future of Medicaid and hospital health systems around the city and state will look like.
11. To pay for this budget, the state is raising the motor fuel tax by about 7 cents per gallon of gasoline and 8 cents for diesel, adding fees on electric cars and heavy trucks and is implementing a new $5 per night tax on hotel stays.
2017 Georgia State Budget BreakdownGraph from Georgia Budget & Policy Institute
The entire budget provides funds for everything from healthcare, infrastructure, cybersecurity and education for every Georgian. According to Gov. Deal’s prologue to the budget, the state as a whole has increased revenue, built up a $2 billion rainy day fund and maintained a AAA credit rating. Only 17% of the proposed budget is considered discretionary spending, with the rest going to non-discretionary programs (like Medicaid, unemployment insurance, The Head Start program and other essential building projects throughout the state). The budget goes into effect on July 1st.
- AFY 17 State of Georgia Budget– link to the state budget – for those who want to nerd out on numbers and the direction of the state 🙂