(The Center Square) — Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed the state’s fiscal 2024 budget on Friday, saying it will help Georgia maintain its standing as “the best state for opportunity.”
“House Bill 19 funds our priorities and places our state on strong financial footing, keeping us on the road to economic growth even while policies coming out of Washington, DC, push the country closer to a recession,” Kemp, a Republican, said in remarks before the signing.
“In order to keep us number one for business, we’re investing in our workforce pipeline — from the classroom all the way to the boardroom,” the governor said during his remarks, given at the Hyundai Metaplant site in Bryan County. “That includes support for our hard-working educators as well as investing in our schools.”
The budget anticipates more than $32.4 billion in state funds and $17.9 billion in federal funds, bringing the total public funds to more than $55.8 billion. The total funds are about $229.6 million more than the governor initially proposed.
According to a previous Georgia Budget and Policy Institute analysis, the budget fully funds the Quality Basic Education formula for Georgia’s schools. It also allocates $229 million to help school districts pay for an increase in employer contributions for classified employees’ monthly health insurance premiums.
“This budget fully funds our schools and provides $26.9 million to increase the number of counselors who help our students overcome personal challenges and support their success,” Kemp said.
“I’m proud to say that … by the end of my first term, we were able to raise teacher pay in Georgia by a total of $5,000,” Kemp added. “Today, the budget I’ll sign will add another $2,000 pay raise on top of that. No other general assembly or governor has raised teacher salaries by so much so quickly in state history.”
The budget also includes a $6,000 pay raise for eligible state law enforcement officers on top of a $5,000 raise included in the 2023 budget. It also restores HOPE Scholarship and grant programs to cover tuition at the state’s public universities and technical colleges, Kemp said.
Georgia’s fiscal 2024 starts July 1. During Friday afternoon’s ceremony, the governor also signed HB 408, extending a tax exemption that was set to expire at the end of June.
“That bill extends the sales and use tax exemption for certain projects designated as competitive projects of regional significance,” Kemp said during his remarks.
Originally published by The Center Square. Republished with permission.
For more from Budget & Tax News.
For more public policy from The Heartland Institute.