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Kemp goes big on spending, seeking $3B increase for Georgia

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp speaks during the State of the State on Thursday, Jan. 13, 2022, in...
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp speaks during the State of the State on Thursday, Jan. 13, 2022, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)(AP)
Published: Jan. 14, 2022 at 8:49 AM CST
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ATLANTA - Gov. Brian Kemp is proposing almost $3 billion more in spending in the 2023 budget year that begins July 1.

That’s driven by more than $1 billion in pay and retirement increases for Georgia’s state, K-12 and university employees.

Kemp wants to spend $30.2 billion in state revenue in the 2023 budget, up from $27.3 billion originally passed this year.

Kemp seeks to fulfill promises he made in 2018 when he ran for governor and court other voters with cash.

That includes $2,000 for teachers and $5,000 for university and state agency employees. Kemp want to give those amounts as one-time payments this year and permanent pay raises next year.

Among Kemp’s plans are those he unveiled in his State of the State Address on Thursday morning before the General Assembly.

Highlights:

TEACHER PAY

During Kemp’s speech, he talked about his promise in 2018 to raise teacher pay in Georgia by $5,000. To date, teachers have received a $3,000 raise. Kemp announced that his Fiscal year 2023 budget proposal will include the money for the other $2,000 that was promised.

He also announced that the amended Fiscal Year 2022 budget will recommend a one-time pay supplement of $2,000 for full-time, state-funded instructional staff, school support staff, and school administration and a $1,000 supplement for school bus drivers, nurses, nutrition workers and part-time employees.

Additionally, Kemp announced plans to block potential teaching of critical race theory in Georgia schools.

HEALTH CARE

Kemp also announced the budget for this year will include an initial $1 million to be used for the expansion of the University of Georgia’s nursing program. His proposal will also include $.5 million for 136 residency slots and $1 million for Mercer University to use to address rural physician shortages.

Next, Kemp announced his budget proposal will include nearly $28 million to allocate a 10% provider rate increase for all foster parents, relative caregivers, child caring institutions and child placing agencies.

FIGHT AGAINST CRIME

Kemp also talked about the need to hold criminals accountable and how soft-on-crime local governments and prosecutors have been unwilling to join the fight to rid their communities of criminal networks.

Kemp said that his office is supporting enabling legislation that will give the Attorney General the authority to partner with the GBI and local law enforcement in their fight against crime. Additionally, $7 million will be used to upgrade GBI crime lab equipment, improve GBI headquarters and hire 32 new employees for the crime lab and medical examiner’s office.

Kemp’s proposed budget will also include $3 million to support an additional trooper school class of 75 cadets.

Additionally, Kemp is asking Commissioner Greg Dozier of the Technical College System of Georgia to add law enforcement and criminal justice degrees, which will allow more than 1,000 Georgians to obtain a degree tuition-free.

Kemp is also asking for a $5,000 raise for state law enforcement and other state employees.

HUMAN TRAFFICKING

Kemp also announced that Georgia’s first lady and the GRACE Commission will be bringing forward legislation to add human trafficking to the list of serious violent and sexual offenses that require a superior court judge to grant bail.

Kemp concluded his speech by saying that the “bold, conservative agenda” that he has outlined over the last few days prioritizes education, healthcare and public safety.

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