Your Georgia Desk
From Senator Judson Hill
Greetings from your state Capitol
We settled into the 3rd week of the 2015 Session. All pending bills die at the end of every 2 year term; therefore, the Senate committees have only a few pending new filed bills meaning in Chamber Session days will be shorter until more bills are filed. A bill has until legislative Day 30 to pass one Chamber so our focus will not turn to House bills for several more weeks. Below is a list of notable legislation that has been introduced in the Senate and is under deliberation in their respective committees.
The legislature continues to hold hearings on the proposed state budgets in various Appropriations subcommittees. We will adjust both the current FY 2015 ($20.8 billion) budget as well as consider and pass the FY 2016 ($21.1 billion) budget. This 2015-16 GA State Budget link takes you to documents to view a more detailed description of Governor Deal’s proposed 2015 Amended and 2016 state budget.
The Georgia State Budget Process
The Amended FY2015 State budgeting process ensures Georgia closes out the fiscal year with a balanced budget on June 30th in order to begin the new fiscal year on July 1st.
After consideration and passage of the Amended 2015 Budget, which considers the second half of the fiscal year, the General Assembly will work on the fiscal year 2016 budget, commonly called the “big budget” because it will determine spending and programs hrough June of 2016.
Several FY 2016 Budget Highlights presented in the Governor’s Budget-
1. $280 million for the K-12 QBE Formula is intended for systems to pass on to teachers as furlough replacement or pay raises for teachers.
2. $16.7 million in Lottery funds for a 3% increase in the HOPE scholarship in public and private colleges to keep up with tuition increases.
3. $139.8 million to fund the Annual Required Contribution for Employees Retirement, Teachers Retirement and Public School Employees Retirement Systems.
4. $149.1 million in new funds for Medicaid growth and Affordable Care Act compliance, and voluntary case management for the Age, Blind and Disabled population. Offset by reductions totaling $179.4 million in PeachCare and Medicaid costs and an increase in the federal match.
5. $239.6 million to fund growth in K-12 enrollment and teacher pay scale recognizing 1.35% increase in enrollment this past year. Georgia’s schools now educate 1.72 million students.
6. $800 million in bonds including $230.0 million for K-12 school construction, $197.7 million for Regents projects, and $19.8 million for Technical Colleges.