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Budget Week Under the Gold Dome

Budget Week Under the Gold Dome Budget Week Under the Gold Dome

The conclusion of the second week of the 2024 Legislative Session marks another busy and significant period. According to the Georgia Constitution, the General Assembly’s primary duty is to pass a budget annually, making this week one of the session’s most crucial. As the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, I take the budget process seriously, remembering its not the State’s money we’re spending — it is your money!

Governor Brian P. Kemp presented his budget proposal this week, emphasizing the largest tax cut in our state’s history and speeding up its implementation. In the end, this tax cut will save Georgians an estimated $2.5 billion. This, combined with other tax cuts, including the suspension of the motor fuel tax, have saved Georgians a combined $5 billion since 2020.

The Governor’s budget also includes expenditures, notably the allocation of $6 million to the OneGeorgia Authority for the Rural Workforce Housing Program. This initiative will establish base funding and provide ongoing grant opportunities for workforce housing development in rural communities. Two cities in the 19th Senate District have already received grants through this program, addressing the need for modern and cost-efficient single-family housing. During discussions on election integrity with the Georgia Secretary of State, I vocally advocated for common sense measures regarding election security, a pressing topic in our state. Many colleagues and I pressed for the removal of QR codes on ballots, a common concern among Georgia voters. I will persist in seeking answers to ensure the security of Georgia’s elections.

Here are some of the other highlights from Gov. Kemp’s proposal to the legislature: • $247 million for health insurance for teachers and non-certified employees.

• A 4% COLA plus a $3,000 pay raise for state law enforcement.

• $250 million to pay down state liabilities in risk pools and pensions, saving future generations millions.

• $103 million for midterm adjustment in QBE based on enrollment growth.

• $6.3 million for early learning and reading, literacy coaches.

• $5 million for reading screeners for all K-3 students. After all, if children can’t read, what’s the point of them having a diploma?

• $1.5 billion to the Department of Transportation • $660,000 for the Capital Construction Project • $641,000 for the Capital infrastructure projects that enhance economic development while promoting freight and logistics efficiency and safety.

• $6.1 million for additional staff and operational needs to increase law enforcement training hours at Georgia Public Safety Training Center.

• $50 million to the Department of Agriculture for updates to spaces and buildings.

Of course, these are just a few of the items. These and other proposals will now go to the General Assembly for consideration. If you have any questions about these or other items pending, please don’t hesitate to call. My cell number is still 912-245-9915 and the office number here in Atlanta is 404-656-0089.

Sen. Blake Tillery serves as Chairman for the Senate Committee on Appropriations. He represents the 19th Senate District, which includes Appling, Bacon, Jeff Davis, Long, Montgomery, Telfair, Toombs, Wayne, and Wheeler counties and a portion of Coffee County. He can be reached by email at blake.

By Sen. Blake Tillery (R- Vidalia) Sen. Blake Vldalla)

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