Wednesday May 18th, 2022 11:31AM

Kemp signs 2023 budget with emphasis on pay raises

By Jonathan O'Brien Anchor/Reporter

Gov. Brian Kemp signed the state's $30.2 billion 2023 budget into law on Thursday and billed the measure as a further step toward recovery from the economic impacts of the pandemic. 

"The budget I will sign today will build on that good work and the fiscal year ahead," Kemp said. "House Bill 911 funds our priorities and sets our state on a strong footing for continued recovery and growth not just over this year but for the years to come."

Among the highlights, the spending plan restores more than $300 million in austerity cuts made to the education system due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Under the midyear budget, which runs through June 30, Georgia teachers received a one-time $2,000 bonus, but the FY 2023 spending plan, which begins July 1, makes that a $2,000 pay raise.

That amount fulfills a campaign promise made by Kemp during the 2018 campaign to raise teachers' salaries by $5,000. 

The emphasis on pay raises for many state employees comes as Georgia sees a significant turnover in many departments, especially juvenile justice. Officials there have reported a personnel turnover rate of more than 90%. 

Lawmakers also allocated a record amount of money for mental health resources, more than $180 million to be specific. This was something Georgia House Speaker David Ralston was pleased to boast about.

The Blue Ridge Republican's top legislative priority this session included passing the Mental Health Parity Act, which overhauls mental healthcare in Georgia. 

"This is a good budget, one which invests strategically in the needs of a growing thriving state," Ralston said. "While at the same time, keeping state government lean and returning every dollar possible to the taxpayer."  

The bill signing ceremony was on the University of North Georgia's Blue Ridge campus. This was fitting because the budget allocates $13 million to expand the campus. 

Beyond the pay raises for University System of Georgia employees, the plan also ends institutional fees at the state's public universities. UNG President Bonita Jacobs said, "it is at the end of the day all about students and not just enrolling students, but graduating them." 

  • Associated Categories: Homepage, Local/State News
  • Associated Tags: Brian Kemp, State legislature, state budget, Georgia Government
© Copyright 2022
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Trump-endorsed candidates make Gainesville campaign stop
With early voting now in full swing across the state, several Donald Trump-endorsed candidates for statewide office are campaigning with the Real Georgia Speaks Team Trump bus tour.
12:30PM ( 6 days ago )
Poll shows Kemp ahead with Hispanic voters
A new survey of Georgia voters puts Gov. Brian Kemp ahead of Democrat Stacey Abrams with a key demographic in North Georgia.
4:00PM ( 1 week ago )
Perdue continues to tout Trump endorsement despite poll
Republican gubernatorial candidate David Perdue said he's unfazed by a recent poll that suggests his endorsement from former President Donald Trump may have no effect on the race.
10:32AM ( 1 month ago )
Kemp reflects on legislative achievements
DAHLONEGA — During a campaign stop in Northeast Georgia on Thursday, Gov. Brian Kemp touted the 2022 legislative session, which saw many victories for his agenda.
6:30PM ( 1 month ago )
Kemp has 11-point lead over Perdue in new poll
A new poll gives Gov. Brian Kemp an 11-point lead over his Republican rival, former U.S. Sen. David Perdue.
By AccessWDUN staff
11:47AM ( 2 months ago )