Deal: Budget prioritizes workforce development, education, transportation infrastructure

Published 8:38 pm Friday, January 12, 2018


Gov. Nathan Deal released his budget recommendations to the General Assembly for the amended current and upcoming fiscal years on Thursday.

Budget priorities include building an educated workforce capable of meeting future job demands, expanding and improving services for Georgia’s most vulnerable citizens, and continuing to invest in transportation infrastructure and economic development.

“The $26 billion in state appropriations included in this budget reflect seven years of investments in our state which have bolstered strong economic growth year after year,” Deal said. “Our conservative budgeting principles have ensured that Georgia is able to both fund current obligations and invest in our state’s long-term economic future. By focusing on key priorities such as workforce development, education and transportation infrastructure, we will continue to move Georgia forward and ensure that our fiscal responsibility sustains economic growth in every corner of the state. Our financial leadership keeps Georgia competitive on a national level, resulting in Georgia earning the distinction of the number one state in which to do business for five years in a row. I look forward to working with the General Assembly to turn these recommendations into a budget that will serve the needs of Georgians and provide meaningful investments for our state.”

If approved, the governor’s Fiscal Year 2019 budget will keep the pension system for Georgia’s teachers on sound financial footing, provide additional early access to higher education for promising K-12 students, expand mental health services for children, and continue improving and expanding Georgia’s transportation infrastructure.

Amended FY 2018 budget highlights include:

  • $102.1 million for a midterm adjustment for K-12 enrollment growth.
  • $10.7 million for growth in the Dual Enrollment program.
  • $43.6 million for the Indigent Care Trust Fund and Medicaid.
  • $15.1 million for child welfare services to care for children in state custody.
  • $2.4 million for autism services for children under 21.
  • $17.6 million for Forestland Protection Act grants.
  • $10 million for the OneGeorgia Authority for beach nourishment projects.
  • $25.2 million for airport runway extension projects.

FY 2019 budget highlights include:

  • $361.7 million for the Teachers Retirement System.
  • $127.6 million for K-12 enrollment growth, training and experience.
  • $30 million to assist low-wealth school systems.
  • $54.3 million for resident instruction at University System institutions.
  • $5.9 million for operations for the Georgia Cyber Innovation and Training Center.
  • $34.4 million for growth in the Dual Enrollment program.
  • $255.9 million for Medicaid to fund growth and offset the loss of federal and other funds.
  • $28.8 million for child welfare services to fund out-of-home care growth and foster care per diem increases.
  • $5.9 million for autism crisis services for children under 21.
  • $22.9 million to implement recommendations from the Commission on Children’s Mental Health.
  • $5 million for accountability courts to implement new courts and expand existing courts.
  • $31.7 million in new motor fuel funds for transportation.
  •  $100 million in bond funds to repair and replace bridges throughout the state.

The General Assembly will use the governor’s recommendations as a starting point to develop and pass the state’s budget, which the governor will then sign or veto. The governor can also veto line items within the as-passed version. The final budgets specify how much state funding various agency programs will receive. The current fiscal year ends June 30, and fiscal year 2019 begins July 1.