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Friday, January 27, 2017

NOTES FROM THE SENATE, JANUARY 27, 2017

GOVERNOR'S FISCAL YEAR 2018 BUDGET PROPOSAL

The House and Senate continued to move towards adopting a FY 2017 Amended Budget and legislation started to flow as legislators converted ideas into legislation to be introduced. This column will review features of the Governor's FY 2018 General Budget. The Budget proposal totals $24.997 billion and includes $1.78 billion in transportation expenditures, an increase of $785 million over pre HB 170 appropriations. Total Lottery expenditures are $1.1 billion and the FY 18 Budget is built on a 3.6 revenue increase over the FY 17 Amended.

PAY PACKAGE PROPOSALS

Includes the Governor's proposed 20% increase for most state public safety officers costing $55.4 million

$160.1 million to fund a state salary scale 2% increase for teachers, school bus drivers and other non-certified employees

$117.4 million for performance incentives for state employees, approximately 2%

$27.7 million for special raises to keep and recruit for critical positions including child protective service workers and environmental health personnel

New contributions to keep the state Employees Retirement System and the Teachers Retirement System well-funded, totaling $3.1 million and $223.5 million respectively.

K-12 AND HIGHER EDUCATION FUNDING INITIATIVES

$85.8 million for increased Equalization Grants for less affluent school systems

$240.9 million in bonds for new K-12 schools and equipment

$49.3 million in lottery proceeds for increased enrollment costs in the HOPE and Zell Miller College Scholarships for public colleges

$29.4 million for increased enrollment in the Move On When Ready program for college and technical college enrollment for high school students.

$2.7 million for the Georgia Center for Early Language and Literacy at Georgia College and State University for teacher training

HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

Directs Tenet settlement funds totaling $92.3 million to match federal funds for:

Behavioral services for children under 21 in need of autistic services

Increased reimbursement rates for some primary care and
OB/GYN codes to attain 2014 Medicare levels

Behavioral services for children ages 0-4

Hepatitis C treatment under federal guidelines

Adds in increased federal Medicaid reimbursement rate from 67.89% to 68.50%

Funds 126 new residency slots in primary care medicine

DBHDD

$6.0 million to fund 250 new slots for NOW and COMP waivers for developmentally disabled adults

$7.7 million for supportive housing for mental health consumers with severe and persistent mental illness in compliance with a DOJ settlement

$6.0 million for one new Behavioral Health Crisis Center

DHS

$12.3 million for increased foster parent per diem rates

$3.9 million for 80 additional employees for foster care support services

$2.5 million for 27 additional employees to fully implement the supervisor-mentor program in Child Welfare Services

The highly successful Accountability Courts are being expanded with the addition of $3.7 million going to the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council.

The full Governor's FY 2017 Amended Budget can be found at https://opb.georgia.gov/ under "Budget Reports".

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