By: Sen. Steve Gooch (R–Dahlonega)
During the 2019 session, the Georgia General Assembly fulfilled our constitutional duty and passed a record $27.5 billion Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20) Budget, House Bill 31, which is based on a state fund growth rate of 2.3 percent and 3.45 percent Department of Revenue growth over the Fiscal Year 2019 amended budget estimates.
Some highlights of the budget include:
Educators and Certified Employees:
- $530.8 million to address a $3,000 pay raise, which will begin on July 1, 2019, for Georgia’s teachers and other certified school personnel including counselors, social workers, psychologists, special education specialists and technology specialist.
- $15,003,985 in Lottery Funds to adjust state base salary schedule to increase salaries for certified Pre-K teachers and certified employees by $3,000 effective July 1, 2019.
- $750,000 for professional development grants for teachers who wish to teach computer science courses. This session Senate Bill 108 received final passage which would require at least one high school in each school system and all middle schools in a school system offer a course in computer science starting during the 2022-2023 school year. SB 108 also lays out the requirements for charter and middle schools.
- $250,000 for cyber security initiatives in high schools across the state.
- $1 million for additional high school counselors and programs for Title I schools.
- An increase of .25 cents to $15.50 per month for each year of service for the benefit utilized by non-certified school employees like school bus drivers and school through the Public School Employees Retirement System.
- $4.9 million for Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities’ residential treatment of addictive diseases.
- $250,000 for the Department of Community Health so that grants can be matched for hospitals in rural counties so that necessary upgrades can be made in their emergency rooms for behavioral health patients.
- $40,000 to enhance delivery and access to emergency trauma care in rural Georgia by adding five new Level IV trauma centers.
- $2.0 million to the Department of Community Affairs for the Georgia Broadband Deployment Initiative.
- $2.3 million in bond package funding for the design of the construction of the Mike Cottrell College of Business at the University of North Georgia in Dahlonega.
- $1.5 million to bring currently used state-owned rail lines up to Class II Standards to help reduce freight truck traffic on highways. This funding will go to Georgia Northeastern Rail Road to upgrade tracks and bridges in Fannin County.
These are just a few of the highlights of the FY20 budget. The entire document and supporting documentation can be found on the link below:
If you have any questions about any specific items in the FY20 budget, please do not hesitate to reach out. I will continue to update you over the course of the next few weeks on the status of bills on the Governor’s desk. The deadline for signing, vetoing or laws becoming effective without signature is May 12, 2019. While session is over, please remember that I am always here to be of assistance and our office door is always open.
# # # #
Sen. Steve Gooch serves as the Senate Majority Whip. He represents the 51st Senate District which includes Dawson, Fannin, Gilmer, Lumpkin, Union and White counties and portions of Forsyth and Pickens counties. He may be reached at 404.656.9221 or via email at email@example.com.