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A closer look at the state budget
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The FY 2014 general budget (HB 106) totaling $19.9 billion is based upon an expected 5 percent growth in tax revenue, but unfortunately many agencies still faced a 3 percent reduction in funding.

Due to holes in Medicaid, retirement fund increases, and enrollment growth for education, around $200 million in cuts were required from state agencies. The House, Senate and governor worked diligently to try and make the cuts as judiciously as possible and the House and Senate restored a number of cuts. Below is a look at some of the highlights of HB 106:

K-12 Education
Adds funds to increase school days for the lottery pre-K program back to 180 days.
Adds $146.6 million to cover a 1.36 percent increase in enrollment growth in students and training/experience increases for teachers.
Adds $2.6 million for school nurses under a new formula recommended by the Education Commission.
Increased funding for charter school systems supplements by $7.2 million to account for increased enrollment and for new systems becoming charter systems.
Fully restores the $2.6 million cut to Sparsity Grants, and restores a $1.3 million cut to school lunch programs.
Adds $69.8 million for the annual required contribution plan to the Teachers Retirement System. The state put in $127 million total to keep all state retirement plans well-funded.
Technology bonds — $7 million to assist school systems in expanding technology in school instruction.

Higher education
Adds $2 million for medical residencies and $5 million for cancer research at the Georgia Regents University Cancer Center.
Adds $62.9 million for enrollment growth at University System of Georgia institutions.
Transfers $3.9 million in state funds for the transfer of the Georgia Archives from the Secretary of State to the Board of Regents and increased the amount by $300,000.
Increases award amount of both the HOPE Grant and HOPE Scholarship by 3 percent.
Restores $8 million in operating funds to technical colleges.
Includes $6.5 million in new lottery funds for technical colleges to increase the HOPE Grant and increase enrollment in the state’s strategic employment occupations like truck driving.
Adds $2 million in bonds for replacement of computers in libraries across the state.

Health and Human Services
Adds $34.2 million to the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities per the U.S. Department of Justice agreement.
A 3 percent increase for funding for out of home care facilities such as Joseph’s Home for Boys.
Economic development and transportation
Adds $9.5 million for Regional Economic Business Assistance (REBA), and increases funds for OneGeorgia Authority by $20 million for bringing new jobs to Georgia.
Adds $15 million in state motor fuel funds to the Local Maintenance and Improvement Grant Program for local road and bridge projects.
Corrections and public safety
Adds $5 million for Juvenile Justice Incentive Funding Grants aimed at community-based options for juvenile offenders, and $1.9 million for a new Youth Detention Center to open in 2014.

Local effects of FY14 budget
$10 million in bonds for new Health Services and Counseling Center at Georgia Southern University.
Ogeechee Technical College–$2.9 million for renovation of Joseph E. Kennedy Building.
$8.26 million for new Health Sciences Building at Southeastern Technical College–Swainsboro campus.
$1 million to continue rehabilitation of the Nunez-Vidalia Rail Line.

Next week: A further look at legislation.

State budgets are available for review at: Select Senate, then go to the Budget and Evaluation Office, then choose “Appropriations Document” for the complete budget documents.

I may be reached at
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