Georgia Home Board helps plan for raises and bonuses

Typically, the semiannual budget is used to fund school enrollment and increased expenses for Medicaid, the state-federal health care program for the poor, disabled, and long-term care.

But after ending fiscal 2021 in profit of $3.7 billion and now seven months of steady sales growth, Kemp and lawmakers are thinking big. Kemp said $1.6 billion will be returned to taxpayers when they file their income taxes this year.

The semi-annual plan provides more than $500 million to provide a $5,000 pay rise to approximately 100,000 employees in Georgia’s state and university system. State officials hope the raise will help stem the high turnover rate among state employees, many of whom have seen little or no pay rises in recent years.

Full-time k-12 employees — such as teachers and staff — would receive a $2,000 bonus payment, while part-time employees would receive $1,000. Teachers are expected to be offered a $2,000 raise in fiscal 2023 so that Kemp can fulfill his 2018 campaign promise to give them a $5,000 raise over the course of his first term.

The spending plan provides approximately $390 million to restore spending cuts for K-12 schools approved by lawmakers in 2020, when cuts were made in anticipation that the COVID-19 pandemic would bring a severe recession.

The mid-year plan calls for an increase in Medicaid spending of more than $250 million and $432 million to address a proposal to purchase a private prison and build a new one. The idea is that the new roost would replace more dilapidated and dangerous facilities.

The mid-year spending plan includes $112.6 million to purchase and develop land for Rivian’s new electric vehicle manufacturing facility east of Atlanta.

It also includes extra money to hire Georgia Bureau of Investigation staff to investigate election complaints, another of Ralston’s priorities.

Speakers of the House of Representatives put $45 million in the half-year budget to relocate state employees from the building at 2 Peachtree Street, a 41-story skyscraper that has long been seen as a state money pit. House Appropriations chairman Terry England, R-Auburn, said it would cost more to properly refurbish the building than it is worth.

Employees are relocated to state offices on Capitol Hill.