Kemp signs Georgia’s amended fiscal year budget

Gov. Brian Kemp signed Wednesday an amended budget for fiscal 2022, increasing state spending by about $3 billion.

House Bill 910 increases state spending from $27.2 billion in fiscal 2022, which ends June 30, to $30.3 billion. Inclusive of federal funds, the amended budget is about $54.5 billion.

“Georgia continues to be the best state to live, work and raise a family because we have prioritized education, public safety and health care even in the face of truly unprecedented times,” Kemp, a Republican, said in remarks Wednesday before signing the bill. “We’ve had to make tough decisions together, but we’ve seen over the last few months they were the right ones.

“Over the next few days, Georgians should know that we’re going to continue … to work to cut taxes, invest in our schools, strengthen public safety and keep partisan politics out of the classroom,” the governor added. “When the books are closed on this legislative session, I am confident that we will have built a safer, stronger Georgia for all who call the Peach State home.”

State leaders credited the state’s COVID-19 response for bolstering its finances. The budget includes pay increases for state employees and paves the way for refunding $1.6 billion to Georgia taxpayers.

“This is a good budget, one that invests strategically in priorities for a growing, thriving state while returning more than $1 billion to Georgia taxpayers,” House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, said during a bill signing ceremony. “I’m particularly proud that this amended budget invests millions more in public safety and mental health services.

“… As we sign this budget today, it is important that we acknowledge that while this state is truly blessed, we did not get here by accident,” Ralston added. “We stand here today having weathered under the leadership of Gov. Kemp a devastating pandemic because we were one of the last states to close and one of the first states to reopen. That wasn’t an easy call for Gov. Kemp to make, but he did it in the best interest of the people of Georgia.”

The Democratic Party of Georgia accused Kemp of playing politics with the budget during a gubernatorial election year, including the taxpayer refund.

“Brian Kemp called the American Rescue Plan a ‘slap in the face for hardworking Georgians.’ But thanks to the ARP, Georgia has a massive surplus, which Kemp has no issue doling out to try to win votes this November,” the party said Wednesday in a Twitter post. “Hypocrisy.”

This article was originally posted on Kemp signs Georgia’s amended fiscal year budget

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