We passed our most crucial annual legislation, House Bill 81 — the budget for Fiscal Year 2022, which begins July 1, 2021. The Fiscal Year 2022 budget has a revenue estimate of $27.2 billion. Since the passage of the initial Fiscal Year 2021 in June of 2020, the state’s fiscal position has substantially improved.
Each year, passing a balanced budget that considers all Georgians’ needs is one of our highest priorities.
Almost 90% of the additional revenue for Fiscal Year 2022 is programmed to be spent within education and health and human services agencies. The House agreed with the Governor’s recommendations and restored 60% of the reductions made to K-12 education funding formulas in the Fiscal Year 2021 budget. The House further improves on the Fiscal Year 2022 budget by providing an infusion of funds for expanded mental health and crisis intervention services; rate increases for health and human service providers; access to healthcare; and salary increases for critical public safety and teaching positions. After the House passed the Budget, the Senate began its review.
Of particular note to House District 159, the Fiscal Year 2022 includes funding for an additional judge for the Ogeechee Judicial Circuit.
Last year, I sponsored legislation that would add a superior court judge to the Ogeechee Judicial Circuit. Thanks to Judge Gates Peed’s advocacy, the legislation passed the House and the Senate last year, and full funding for the position is included in this year’s budget.
This much-needed position will keep our courts moving smoothly.
Over the past couple of weeks, we have passed multiple pieces of legislation that provide common-sense solutions to challenges facing our state. House Bill 32, sponsored by Representative Dave Belton, creates a Georgia tax credit for some teachers who choose to accept a contract to teach in a high-need specified subject area in a rural school or a school in the lowest five percent of schools in this state. Encouraging teachers to focus on areas with the highest need ensures that all Georgia students have access to high-quality educational opportunities.
House Bill 303, sponsored by Rep. Mike Glanton, provides a car insurance premium reduction for certain active-duty members of the military.
House Bill 363, sponsored by Rep. John LaHood, clarifies existing laws regarding elder abuse, ensuring that individuals who abuse the elderly in our state will face the justice they deserve.
Along with the other members of the House Republican Caucus, I was proud to vote for these bills and send them to the Senate!
As always, bills must pass both chambers, the House and Senate, and be signed by the Governor to become law.
Once our session ends, I will spend time letting you know which laws passed. In the meantime, your comments about pending legislation are much appreciated and welcomed.
As we engage in the 2021 Session, please do not hesitate to call (404.656.5052), e-mail (Jon.Burns@house.ga.gov), or participate on Facebook (www.FB.com/JonBurnsGA).
It is an honor to represent you in the General Assembly, and I look forward to seeing you soon.
Jon Burns represents District 159 in the Georgia General Assembly, where he serves as the House majority leader.