Pay raises for teachers and state workers sail through Georgia House |

ATLANTA (AP) — The Georgia House of Representatives on Thursday overwhelmingly passed a $36.1 billion state budget for fiscal year 2025 that provides generous pay raises for teachers and state workers through a huge surplus.

“This is a great budget that meets the needs of every Georgian from every walk of life,” House Speaker Jon Burns, R-Newington, said after the 172-1 vote.

The budget, which takes effect July 1, would increase state spending by $3.6 billion — or 11% — over the original fiscal 2024 spending plan that the General Assembly approved last spring.

It includes a 4% salary increase for most state employees and an additional one-time raise of $3,000 for state law enforcement and correctional officers. Employees in state agencies that suffer from high turnover would also receive additional targeted raises beyond the 4 percent raise.

“Agency churn is a problem,” said House Budget Committee Chairman Matt Hatchett, R-Dublin. “The slow, steady increase in salaries … is affecting the recruitment and retention of state employees.”

The budget also includes $2,500 in donations for public school teachers. A separate bill the House passed last month would provide pay raises for senior judges, state appeals court judges and state Supreme Court justices.

With the state running a $16 billion surplus, House Democrats agreed to significant increases for education and health care and either agreed with Gov. Brian Kemp's budget recommendations or supplemented Kemp's proposed spending plan in January.

The budget includes $249.6 million to address public school enrollment increases, $204 million for more school buses and $104 million in grants to improve security on public school campuses. Every public school in Georgia would receive a $45,000 safety grant.

The spending plan also includes $146 million to fully fund reimbursement increases for health care providers for Medicaid patients.

“We lose providers all the time because we don’t reimburse them enough,” Hatchett said.

Budget 25 now heads to the Georgia Senate.