Georgia General Assembly Week in Review: Jan. 13th – Jan. 17th

January 17, 2014

Pardon Our Dust

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This week marked the first week of the 2014 Georgia General Assembly, which leadership continues to say is going to be a short legislative session.  Highlights this week were mainly centered around the Governor’s State of the State address and the budget.  Governor Deal’s address included some of his methods for keeping Georgia afloat during the recession; his major focus being in creating more private-sector jobs for Georgians, maintaining a strong Georgia education system and reducing taxes through multiple reforms. Governor Deal touted that Georgia has the lowest tax burden on its citizens of any state in the nation, which he attributes to the elimination of taxes on things such as energy for manufacturing, the marriage tax, and the annual tax on vehicles. Moving forward, the Governor’s 2014 legislative agenda includes a proposal to allow Georgia’s technical college students to access to the Zell Miller HOPE Grant, which would cover 100 percent of tuition for those who maintain a 3.5 grade point average.  The Governor also announced his budget recommendations for 2014, which include $315 million in new K-12 general education funding. In attempts to increase teacher pay, Deal is also pushing the restoration of the 180 day school year. The Governor is also recommending increases in funding for traditional higher education, including upgrades to the university system’s information portal for students, $25 million for the OneGeorgia Authority to provide grants to local school systems for digital education and wireless technology enhancements, and another $14 million for additional school technology grants in bonds.

Other budget recommendations from the Governor include $66 million in new water supply development funds, $3 million to fund studies in support of regional water plans, and $35 million into continued investment in the Savannah Harbor Deepening project.
The legislature will reconvene on Tuesday, January 21st which will mark the 6th of 40 legislative days. Next week, the House is expected to approve the amended 2014 budget.