The 2014 legislative session is continuing at an expedited rate, even despite the weather complications. Governor Deal’s fiscal year 2015 budget is based on the expectation of more steady economic growth than Georgia has experienced over the past couple years. FY2015 reflects 4.4 percent revenue growth over FY14 amended.
The amended FY14 budget totals $20.2 billion, with motor fuel taxes of $993.4 million. For education, $134.7 million was appropriated, with $130.5 for the mid-year adjustment for enrollment growth.
Total estimated revenues for FY15 are $20.8 billion, a $600 million increase from FY14. The lottery is expected to produce $947.9 million in revenues, and $1 billion is expected from motor fuel taxes. A large portion, $500 million plus, of the new funds is appropriated for education. A total of $314.3 million will fund the Quality Basic Education program for austerity reduction, reduction of furlough days, and pay increases. New funds are appropriated for enrollment growth, fully- funded equalization, sparsity grants, school nurses, and pay supplements for STEM teachers. A total of $271.9 million in bonds is going toward school construction, school buses, and other related areas.
Governor Deal has increased spending in higher education as well. There is a 3 percent increase in the funds for the Hope scholarships and grants. $10 million has been appropriated for a new low-interest loan program for technical college students. The FY15 budget also establishes the Zell Miller Grant, which covers full tuition costs for technical college students who maintain a 3.5 GPA. A new military science building at Georgia Southern University is slated to get $9.5 million.
Recent changes to the State Health Benefit Plan will cost an additional $116 million. For Medicaid and PeachCare, $101.3 million is appropriated for compliance with the Federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. A total of $3.2 million will cover autism under the SHBP.
Technology grants for schools are proposed to receive $25 million. There is $15 million for economic development and $10.0 million for REBA “deal-maker” grants. The Savannah harbor deepening and expansion has $36 million.
Passed Senate and in the House
SB 297 - Exempts local officials from filing campaign finance disclosure reports if the official is not raising or spending more than $2,500 per election cycle.
SB 298 - Allows a person with a disability to obtain a handicapped parking tag by submitting a signed statement of disability from a doctor if a notary is not present. Passed Public Safety Committee and Senate Floor unanimously.
Passed the House and in the Senate
HB 795 - Authorizes the city of Statesboro to undertake and execute all community redevelopment under the “Redevelopment Powers Law.” Passed House unanimously.
Bills introduced in Senate
SB 324 - Includes in the duties of law enforcement and peace officers that they must investigate/observe the supervision of delinquent children under intense community supervision.
SB 329 - Expands Youth Apprentice Program to now be called “work-based learning program.” Removes listing of skills to be focused upon in the programs and now opens the programs up to be related to the student’s career path. Also changes eligibility from 11th and 12th grade students to now be 16 years of age or older.
If you would like additional information regarding a specific piece of legislation, you may access the Georgia General Assembly Web site at http://www.legis.ga.gov/
I may be reached at
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E-mail at Jack.Hill@senate.ga.gov
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