(Media release from the Office of Governor Brian Kemp):
On Thursday, Governor Brian P. Kemp, joined by First Lady Marty Kemp and Amy Porter Kemp, constitutional officers, Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan, Speaker David Ralston, leadership and members of the General Assembly, and state and local elected officials, today signed the Fiscal Year 2023 Budget (HB 911). In doing so, the governor continues to deliver on his promise to build a safer, stronger Georgia through significant investments in public safety, education, healthcare, Georgia’s no. 1 business environment, and more.
Governor Kemp signed HB 911 at the University of North Georgia’s Blue Ridge Campus. An excerpt from his remarks at today’s ceremony can be found below. A video of the ceremony can be found here.
Georgia continues to lead in the Great Recovery because we chose to protect both lives and livelihoods during the pandemic, because we withstood the criticisms and opened our economy, and because we made the tough decisions when it mattered most.
And because of those choices, our unemployment rate is at a remarkable 3.1 percent, we experienced record-breaking commerce, trade, and investment numbers this fiscal year while retaining our No. 1 ranking for business, and our state revenues are up without any tax increase on our people and businesses.
In fact, we put over 1 billion dollars of taxpayer dollars back where they belong… in the pockets of hardworking Georgians. On top of that, we temporarily halted the state gas tax and created the largest tax cut in state history.
The budget I will sign today will build on that good work in the fiscal year ahead.
HB 911 funds our priorities and sets our state on a strong footing for continued recovery and growth; not just over this next year, but for years to come.
A couple of months ago, we were able to give Georgia’s hardworking teachers a 2,000 dollar, one-time pay supplement and a classroom grant to spend as they saw fit to benefit their students.
Today, I’m proud to sign this budget that will put a 2,000 dollar pay raise on top of that and deliver on a promise I made when I first ran for governor.
In total, we will have raised teacher pay in Georgia by 5,000 dollars since I took office!
HB 911 also:
|▪||Fully restores austerity cuts made to QBE and related programs during the COVID pandemic through more than 388 million additional dollars for K-12 instruction;|
|▪||It restores austerity cuts to the University System of Georgia and enables our public colleges and universities to eliminate the Special Institutional Fee that students and their families have had to pay since the Great Recession;|
|▪||It provides a minimum factor rate of 90 percent for HOPE scholarships and grants to cover tuition costs; and|
|▪||It expands instruction of in-demand career programs at our Technical Colleges, further addressing supply chain issues.|
In short, this budget improves both the quality of and access to education across the board.
Between the amended budget I signed earlier and this one, we are investing more per K-12 student than ever before in our state.
But this budget doesn’t only make our classrooms and workforce better, it also makes our communities safer and puts resources where they need to be to take down criminals.
HB 911 provides for an additional trooper school of 75 cadets who will join the ranks of our elite State Troopers in the fiscal year ahead.
It also provides funding to the Office of the Attorney General to expand the very successful Human Trafficking Unit created last year and to create the Gang Prosecution Unit modeled after it.
As Attorney General Carr said a couple of weeks ago when I signed the bill establishing the Gang Prosecution Unit… “The Department of Law will serve as a force multiplier by working hand-in-hand with federal, state, and local law enforcement officials to ensure that violent criminals are aggressively prosecuted and put behind bars.”
They will not hesitate to prosecute those who pose a risk to Georgia’s people and businesses.
HB 911 also provides over 10.3 million dollars to expand the GBI Medical Examiner’s office and crime lab to address the backlog of cases so that justice can finally be served for victims and their loved ones.
It also provides resources to the GBI for elections investigators, so that all Georgians can be assured that their vote is secure.
We’re also not resting on our laurels when it comes to making Georgia a healthier place to call home.
With this budget, we’re further ensuring that Georgia remains a state that values life at all stages by putting over 28 million dollars toward extending Medicaid coverage of new mothers from six to twelve months following birth, and increasing the provider rate for foster parents, Child Caring Institutions, Child Placing Agencies, and relative caregivers by 10 percent.
We’re also investing in an autism recognition pilot program, so that we can further aid families with precious children who face such challenges.
And we’re further expanding the behavioral health and substance abuse crisis services offered to those struggling with addiction and mental health issues.
I’m also proud to say that, working with Commissioner John King, we’ve allocated over 124 million dollars in this budget for the state reinsurance program, which will reduce insurance premiums statewide.
When Georgians are facing tragedies or accidents, whether health or property related, the last thing they should have to worry about is even more costs piled on.
What I’ve shared are just a small handful of the benefits that will soon come to Georgians and our communities because of this historic budget.
So again, I want to thank everyone here and elsewhere who helped make this budget possible.
Georgia continues to be the best state to live, work, and raise a family because we have prioritized education, public safety, and healthcare – even in the face of truly unprecedented times.
This budget builds on those priorities to make us even stronger and more prosperous, and I’m honored to be in Fannin County to sign this historic budget.