Gov. Sonny Perdue formally submitted his amended FY08 budget recommendations in his annual State of the State Address on Jan. 16. These recommendations were given before a joint session.
Gov. Perdue allocated over $65 million in one-time funds in the amended FY08 budget to fund two priority needs for schools — transportation and technology. About $25 million will go to purchase 557 school buses. Over $40 million will be spent on schools so they can upgrade their technology. The amended budget includes the mid-year education adjustment for enrollment growth of $188 million.
The governor laid out a comprehensive plan to help alleviate the water issue in the state. He called for $40 million in cash in the amended FY08 budget to construct reservoirs and water systems throughout Georgia.
The governor called for $156,872,671 in his amended FY08 budget to fund local roads. This is the highest level of funding since FY1999.
Strengthening the state’s trauma system is a top priority for this session. Gov. Perdue has proposed $53 million in the amended FY08 budget to help the State Trauma Commission reimburse physicians, EMS providers and trauma hospitals for uncompensated care. He also included $16 million for state funds to help match federal funds with PeachCare, along with $15 million to help the state’s mental health hospital operations.
Bills of interest
The following are a few bills of interest the have passed in the Senate in week 1:
• HB 89: Allows those with gun licenses more freedom to keep and store concealed weapons in their automobiles and allows weapons in state parks and trails. This is the Business Security and Employee Privacy Act.
• SB 76: An assignments bill that restores certain appointment authority to the lieutenant governor.
• SR 701: This is the State-Wide Water Plan proposed by the Water Council. This involves recommendations to review and allocate the water resources and has gained wide support across the state. It is a framework which divides the state into water planning districts. Funding of $11 million is being allocated to begin fact-finding.
Next week’s column will include highlights of FY09 budget proposals.
Visit the Legislature’s home page at www.legis.state.ga.us