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Governor presents amended, general budgets
Hill Jack
Sen. Jack Hill

 The Legislature kicked of the 2019 Session this week and the highlight, outside of the ceremonial activities, was the offering of Gov. Kemp’s versions of the Amended 2019 and FY 2020 General Budgets.

Amended budget includes school safety funds

    Gov. Kemp’s Amended FY 2109 budget increased spending 3.3 percent, totaling $26.933 billion. Items of interest in the Amended Budget include:

     ➤ $68.8 million for school security grants ($30,000 per school statewide)

     ➤ $89.6 million for midterm enrollment for K-12 Schools

     ➤ $104.9 million ($33.7 million state funds) for growth in Medicaid for growth

     ➤ $18.7 million for Disproportionate Share Hospitals (DSH) for private, deemed and non-deemed hospitals for indigent care

     ➤ $18.1 million ($5.8 million state) for gene therapy coverage for Medicaid recipients

     ➤ $8.4 million in Behavioral Health for Georgia Apex Program to support counselors for mental health services in high schools

     ➤ $9.3 million to Mercer University School of Medicine to establish four year medical school campus in Columbus, GA

     ➤ $5.8 million for the Georgia Trauma Network Commission to reflect 2018 Super Speeder collections, reinstatement fees and fireworks excise tax collections

     ➤ $14.0 million in one-time funds for statewide water planning

     ➤ $5.6 million for hazardous waste cleanup activities (DNR Hazardous Waste Trust Fund)

     ➤ $1.0 million to the wildlife Endowment Fund to recognize additional lifetime sportsman’s license revenues in FY 2018

     ➤ $35.7 million additional (over $14.0 million base) to repay counties and local systems through the Forestland Protection Act grant

FY 2020 general budget — Pay raises and new voting machines

     The FY 2020 General Budget increases spending 2.3 percent and totals $27.544 billion with $1.249 billion in Lottery proceeds and appropriates $1.925 billion to DOT from Transportation revenues.

     ➤ $505.1 million to raise the base salary of certified teachers and certified employees by $3000

     ➤ $21.3 million to the Teachers Retirement System to meet employer contribution

     ➤ $66.9 million in lottery funds for the HOPE Scholarship for public colleges

     ➤ $10.8 million for the HOPE Scholarship for private colleges

     ➤ $9.1 million for the Zell Miller Scholarships for public colleges and $3.3 million for the Zell Miller Scholarships for private colleges

     ➤ $3.4 million for Dual Enrollment to meet projected need

     ➤ $5.1 million to cover the full cost of the scholarship for all new REACH Georgia Scholars

Medicaid costs grow

     ➤ $337 million for total growth in Medicaid

     ➤ $2.3 million for 112 new graduate medical education residency slots

     ➤ $500,000 for loan repayment awards for rural advanced practice registered nurses, dentists, physicians assistants, and physicians

Behavioral health/

 developmental disabilities

     ➤ $10.5 million for adult mental services

     ➤ $10.2 million for crisis bed capacity

     ➤ $8.2 million to annualize cost of crisis centers in areas with greatest need

     ➤ $4.9 million for the residential treatment of adult addictive diseases

Human Services

     ➤ $957,000 for 12 additional adult protective services caseworkers

     ➤ $945,000 for home-delivered meals to the elderly to reduce the waitlist

Transportation — a high priority

     ➤ $32.6 million for additional resurfacing projects and capital projects

     ➤ $3 million for local road and bridge resurfacing projects

     ➤ $100 million in bonds for bridge repair/replacements statewide

Governor proposes new

voting machines

     ➤ $150 million in bonds for the replacement of election voting systems statewide

     ➤ A commission has made recommendations on the type of equipment

Fourth District

     ➤ $5.2 million in bonds for equipment for the Center for Engineering and Research at Georgia Southern