The following information was provided by our GPHA Legislative Liaison Scott Maxwell of Mathews & Maxwell, Inc.
Governor Deal today held budget signing ceremonies across the state for next year’s $25 billion state budget. The legislation, HB 44, will support Georgia citizens by funding initiatives in education, human services, public safety, state infrastructure and other key areas. This budget is based on a 3.5 percent increase in general fund revenues over FY 2017, reflecting Georgia’s sustained economic growth.
“The FY 2018 budget maintains Georgia’s position as a national leader in conservative fiscal management and further strengthens our top priorities: quality education for all children, public safety in our communities, an economy that continues to generate jobs and an infrastructure system that supports a growing population,” said Deal. “With this budget, we are working to make Georgia a better place to live, work and play by investing in public safety personnel, teachers and others responsible for ensuring the safety of Georgia’s children. Georgia has enjoyed sustained economic growth and this budget lays the foundation for continued short-term and long-term success. I commend the General Assembly for working with me once again to balance the budget while addressing the issues that matter most to Georgia’s citizens.”
HB 44 invests more than $516 million in new funding for K-12 education, including allocations of more than $156.8 million for enrollment growth, training and experience, and $85.8 million for the Quality Basic Education Equalization program to assist low-wealth school systems. Also included is $160.1 million in funding to provide a 2 percent increase to the state base salary schedule for certified personnel, school bus drivers and school nurses. The budget also provides additional funding for the Teachers Retirement System to ensure teachers’ pensions maintain strong financial footing.
The FY 2018 budget also invests more than $96 million in the Department of Human Services child welfare services programs to ensure that those who care for our most vulnerable citizens have the resources necessary to provide safe, caring environments for children in need. Of this funding, $25.9 million will provide 19 percent pay increases for child protective services employees to assist the department in recruiting and retaining staff, and $31 million will provide per diem rate increases for foster parents and relatives caring for children.
The budget includes $55.2 million in addition to funding allocated in the Amended FY 2017 budget to provide a 20 percent salary increase for law enforcement personnel, as well as salary increases for criminal investigators and public safety trainers. This increase has already had a significant impact in recruiting new officers for the Department of Public Safety, as the Department has received twice as many trooper applications as usual since the increase was announced in September.
As a result of continued revenue growth from HB 170, the Georgia Department of Transportation will receive an additional infusion of $162.6 million to help maintain the state’s roads and bridges. This is in addition to the $100 million already included in this year’s capital funding package to supplement bridge repairs and improvements. To date, HB 170 has generated more than $1 billion in new funding each year to expand and maintain Georgia’s road and bridge network.
Additional FY 2018 budget highlights include:
- $1.5 million to increase salaries for the retention and recruitment of Department of Public Health Environmental Health Specialists.
- $798,000 to create 12 new Environmental Health Specialists positions.
- $1.3 million for the final phase-in year to hold harmless counties receiving public health grants-in-aid.
- Increase funding for telehealth infrastructure in public health departments – $2.2 million.
- Increase funds for the Integrated Eligibility System information technology project. $10.9 million, DHS.
- Increase funds for 1,000 additional Non-Medicaid Home and Community Based slots. $4,200,000 million, DHS.
- Increase funds to provide home delivered and congregate meal services. $750,000, DHS.
- Increase funds for Georgia Alzheimer’s Project and provide a report to the Georgia General Assembly by July 1, 2018. $4.1 million, DHS.
- Increase funds for personnel for an additional 11 adult protective services supervisors. $766,484, DHS.
- Increase funds for an adjustment to congregate and home delivered meals rates for Medicaid waivers for the elderly. $250,000, DHS.
- Increase in the salaries for nurse surveyors. $2 million state funds. $4.3 state and federal funds, DCH.
- Increase funds for home care services in the CCSP and SOURCE for Alzheimer’s Disease and related dementia patients with a confirmed diagnosis, to include any who may be a part of the Georgia Alzheimer’s Project. $1million state funds. $3.1million state and federal funds, DCH.
- $115.4 million for performance incentives for high-performing employees or for employee recruitment and retention initiatives.
- $222.5 million to meet actuarially determined employer contributions to the Teachers Retirement System.
- $20.8 million for autism services for children served by Medicaid and $17.9 million for primary care and OB/GYN Medicaid providers.
- $11.8 million to annualize a provider rate increase for the Comprehensive Supports Waiver Program.
- $25.9 million for 500 additional NOW and Comprehensive waivers, bridge funding and housing vouchers.
- $79.4 million for the University System of Georgia for resident instruction.
- $20.5 million for the Move on When Ready program.
- $11.3 million in bond funds for the Technical College System of Georgia to purchase world-class lab equipment.
- $36.4 million to construct and equip a new crime lab for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation in Savannah. Possession of drugs is also a punishable offence and if you need to know about the drug possession charges, click here! Since we are living in a world that thrives on treachery and deception, there are also possibilities for the innocent to be wrongly accused. In such a situation, the accused can hire attorneys for car theft charges who will fight for their rights and give legal representations.