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Gov. Kemp Signs FY25 Budget to Invest in Education, Public Safety, Healthcare, and More

Governor Brian P. Kemp, joined by First Lady Marty Kemp, Lieutenant Governor Burt Jones, Speaker Jon Burns, constitutional officers, members of the General Assembly, and state and local elected officials, signed the Fiscal Year 2025 Budget (HB 916) today at a signing ceremony in the North Wing of the Georgia State Capitol. This budget was carefully worked on by Senate and House Appropriations Chairmen Blake Tillery and Matt Hatchett, along with members of both legislative chambers and invests in public safety, education, healthcare, workforce development, and much more.

An excerpt from the governor's remarks can be found below:

The yearly budget is the biggest demonstration of our priorities and the biggest tool we have to serve the people of our state.

This budget in particular will help us further promote economic prosperity in communities all across the state, provide Georgia students a quality education, care for the health and wellbeing of our families, and ensure the safety of our neighborhoods.

And because we’ve budgeted conservatively and refused to spend beyond our means, we’re able to invest in these core areas while cutting taxes at the same time.

The fiscal year 2025 budget will build on the investments we made in the amended budget and the budgets that came before as we meet the challenges facing our communities.

One of the greatest challenges we’ve faced even as we’ve enjoyed unprecedented economic development is the recruitment and retention of critical positions like law enforcement officers, teachers, caseworkers, and other public sector roles.

In recent years, we’ve raised pay to offer competitive salaries to these hardworking men and women, and this budget furthers those efforts by offering a four percent cost-of-living adjustment for state employees.

And while helping all of our workers fight the negative effects of inflation, we’re also targeting positions with the highest need and offering additional salary enhancements for roles like public safety officers.

This budget will also help us address another side effect of record job creation – the need for affordable workforce housing. HB 916 includes an additional 6 million dollars for the Rural Workforce Housing Program that is already producing quality results, because every Georgian should be able to live in the same community where they work.

We know that maintaining that growth will require a well-educated workforce.

That’s why, between this budget and the amended budget I signed in February, we are committing more to K-12 education than ever before: an additional 1.4 billion dollars, for a total of 13.2 billion dollars.

We know just how important teachers are to preparing the next generation for that success, which is why we’ve raised educator pay faster and by more than ever before in state history.

This year, we’ll do it again, with an increase of an additional 2,500 dollars. That’s a total pay raise of 9,500 dollars since I took office.

We’re also committing over 7 million dollars for literacy initiatives – an important priority for the state Senate – to ensure all Georgians have this foundational skill.

And in a time when far too many parents and loved ones worry about the safety of students and teachers in our classrooms, one of our most serious responsibilities is securing our classrooms.

That’s why one of our top priorities in this budget was enacting a school safety grant program that will be included annually to provide ongoing state support for school safety as a part of the K-12 budget.

After hearing from administrators across the state how impactful our school safety grants have been, we wanted to provide them certainty that these funds would be there when they were making planning decisions.

I’m grateful to the General Assembly for supporting that vision and including over 100 million dollars to establish this yearly program.

But our commitment to public safety does not end with our campuses… we’re also pouring resources into strengthening law enforcement statewide.

Frontline state public safety officers are receiving a 3,000-dollar salary enhancement - helping ensure these critical positions are filled with capable men and women.

We’ve also allocated over 1.5 million dollars to support an additional trooper school of 35 graduates.

Rest assured, we will continue investing in our law enforcement to ensure they have the training and resources necessary to protect hardworking Georgians.

That includes investing in our Department of Corrections, where Commissioner Oliver has made improving security and staffing levels a top priority.

We’ve allocated a record amount to help achieve that goal… including over 10 million dollars for safety, security, and technology enhancements to intercept contraband.

We know many of the criminals engaged in these activities are also gang members, which is why cracking down on these criminal enterprises has been one of our top priorities for years.

This year, the budget includes 4.8 million dollars to the GBI to establish a gang task force in Columbus and over 800,000 dollars to expand the Attorney General’s Gang Prosecution Unit across the state.

On top of that, we’re putting 1.4 million dollars to standing up the Organized Retail Crime and Cyber Prosecution Unit within the Attorney General’s Office - further building on our efforts to combat crime on a statewide level.

We also have made historic investments in the health and wellbeing of our people.

We’ve already made incredible strides in both increasing access and improving affordability for health insurance... and I’m proud this budget includes a further 20 million dollars for the state reinsurance program that has been critical to that success.

And as our population continues to grow, we’re also making sound investments in growing our healthcare workforce. This budget includes over 160 million dollars to implement provider rate study recommendations and provide parity for the Georgia Pediatric Program to support the men and women providing critical and direct care to Georgians in need.

We’ve also allocated 2 million dollars for 105 new primary care residency slots; 3.3 million dollars for the Board of Healthcare Workforce to address physician workforce needs through the support and development of medical education programs; 900,000 dollars for additional loan repayments for dentists who practice in rural areas.

We’re also expanding the maternal health pilot program in rural communities, with over 1.7 million additional dollars committed to this program that is helping mothers across Georgia.

Finally, Marty and I have made it a top priority, alongside many of the leaders here today, to ensure we are tackling the challenge of mental health directly.

We took the first steps two years ago when I signed the Mental Health Parity Act, a top priority of the late Speaker David Ralston.

Now, we’re building on that legacy by committing more funds to mental health than ever before.

That includes 16.5 million dollars for behavioral health crisis centers statewide; 1 million dollars for child advocacy centers to expand mental health services and forensic interviewing for children who have suffered abuse, neglect, exploitation, and trafficking; And 1 million dollars to expand the Veterans Mental Health Services Program.

We’re also allocating 1.5 million dollars to establish the David Ralston Center for Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities at UGA, ensuring we remain at the forefront of this issue, building the needed workforce and providing a valuable resource for research.

As we make record investments in the services our state needs, we have returned over 5 billion dollars to Georgia taxpayers - all while speeding up cuts to the state income tax.

When others, including Washington, D.C. politicians, want to spend like there is no tomorrow, here in Georgia, we continue to balance the budget and put our money where it will have the greatest impact while working together to ensure we are good stewards of the people’s money.

Because we know that is your money, not the government’s.

This year’s budget is in line with that philosophy, and I’m grateful to all the partners in the General Assembly who supported it.

So, with that, let’s sign this budget!

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