The following is the press release from Gov. Nathan Deal’s office on his signing of the fiscal year 2017 budget. The fiscal year begins on July 1, 2016.
Gov. Nathan Deal today held budget signing ceremonies throughout the state for next year’s $23.7 billion state budget. The signed version of House Bill 751 will support Georgia citizens by funding initiatives in education, public safety, economic development, health care and other key areas.
“The FY 2017 budget will help build upon the things that matter most to the citizens of this state: An education system that promotes quality in the classroom, communities that will be safer tomorrow than they were yesterday, a government that utilizes efficiencies to help Georgians, and an economy that supports job growth,” Deal said. “I commend the General Assembly for working with me once again to balance the budget while meeting growing cost demands, funding priorities and strengthening our Rainy Day Fund.”
FY 2017 budget highlights include:
- $23.7 billion in total state appropriations
- $825 million in new state general and motor fuel funds for transportation
- $8.9 million for the continuation of criminal justice reforms
- $29.4 million in additional funds for the Move on When Ready dual-enrollment program
- $300 million in additional funds intended for teacher salary increases
- $26.2 million for Pre-K teacher pay raises
- $172 million in additional funds for salary increases for state employees, as well as an additional $56 million to address employee recruitment and retention needs in positions with high turnover
The finalized budget includes an additional $300 million for K-12 education that local school districts can use to enhance teacher salaries while also working to keep students and teachers in the classroom for full calendar years. Education funding, which is the largest segment of state appropriations, also includes substantial support for Pre-K teachers, tuition coverage for an additional in-demand industry for Georgia’s technical college students, and over $29 million in additional funds for Move on When Ready. Georgia has recently worked to expand dual-enrollment opportunity for high school students seeking to earn college credit through its Move on When Ready program.
The budget also includes funding for salary increases to help recruit and retain high-performing state employees, including for jobs with large amounts of turnover, such as public health nurses, corrections officers and public safety officers. This effort can enhance services provided for Georgians by reducing turnover and increasing efficiency. The amount includes approximately $3.8 million for law enforcement officers at the Department of Public Safety, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Natural Resources to ensure the state continues to retain experienced and skilled officers to keep Georgians safe, which is in addition to any statewide increases.
The state’s transportation agency will receive approximately $825 million in additional appropriations as a result of last year’s House Bill 170, which has resulted in a sustainable increase in funding that will help maintain and improve the state’s roads and bridges. In addition, the state will again utilize $100 million in bonds for bridge repairs and improvements.
Next year’s budget also continues to promote inmate education initiatives, as well as expanded use of community based alternatives to sentencing, which play a pivotal role in the state’s criminal justice reform efforts. These efforts are yielding positive results for state finances and the individuals involved.
The fiscal year begins July 1.