Ga. Capitol roundup: Kemp proposes $5,000 raise for state workers
ATLANTA - Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp on Friday announced a proposal to give a $5,000 annual pay raise to state agency employees as lawmakers survey what’s likely to be a prosperous state revenue picture.
State revenues through November were running more than $1 billion ahead of budget.
Kemp wants lawmakers to boost teacher pay by another $2,000, completing his promise to give teachers a $5,000 raise over four years, costing about $461 million.
Fully funding the state’s K-12 funding formula would cost another $383 million.
A tax cut is likely to focus on reducing the state income tax.
Lawmakers may also be called on to decide how to spend a $2.2 billion surplus from last year.
Lieutenant governor unveils legislative priorities
ATLANTA - Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan has unveiled his agenda for the 2022 legislative session that begins Monday.
Focused on expanding public safety resource avenues, addressing the shortage of mental health resources, improving Georgia’s foster care system and passing key budget items, Duncan announced the following initiatives:
- Create a dollar-for-dollar state tax credit for individuals and corporations who contribute to their local police department or sheriff’s office through a certified and affiliated law enforcement foundation.
- Establish the framework for a statewide co-responder model which combines the expertise of law enforcement and behavioral health specialists in emergency calls dealing with mentally ill people.
- Allow taxpayers to contribute to services specifically for the welfare of young adults who have aged out of the foster care system in Georgia.
- Ensure funding for mandated computer science instruction in Georgia middle schools and high schools.
- Work to find solutions other than hotels for children unable to receive placement into a foster care home due to a behavioral or physical disability.
- Ensure the Department of Corrections has the necessary funding to hire, train and retain correctional officers.
Education policy expected to get attention
ATLANTA - When Georgia lawmakers begin meeting on Monday, social conservatives are looking to push education policy to the forefront, driven by a national tumult over the pandemic and race.
Republicans are also taking cues from Glenn Youngkin’s gubernatorial victory in Virginia, believing school policy can sway swing voters who voted for Democrats.
One top issue will be efforts to block obscene materials from school websites and libraries.
Another top issue will be regulating what schools can teach about race, an effort Republicans characterize as banning critical race theory.
Conservatives want to give parents greater ability to examine what schools teach, restrict sex education and ban transgender girls from school sports.
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