HEADLINES : Georgia
GA Gov: Next year budget increase just three-tenths of 1 percent
ATLANTA - Governor Nathan Deal opened three days of House-Senate appropriations hearings by taking exception to published reports that suggest his budget is a significant spending increase.
Deal proposed a $19.2 million Fiscal 2013 budget, up from $18.3 million this year. Increases would fully fund anticipated K-12 enrollment growth, required pension and the state health care benefit obligations, improve Medicaid funding and enable the state to purchase new prison beds "for those who truly need to be locked up," the Governor said.
"Other than funding these areas of growth, my budget calls for funding increases of three-tenths of 1 percent," Deal told assembled legislators at the State Capitol, "not the figure that you have seen in some of the media reports." Deal added $4.2 million to support residency slots for physicians, $10 million for One Georgia rural economic development, $10 million for accountability courts and $3.7 million for school nurses.
The Governor said 14,000 state positions were taken off the books since last year and the total state workforce is down 7.7 percent since 2001 to about 96,800 employees. “When adjusted for inflation per capita spending in my budget recommendation for fiscal year 2013 is 20.5 percent less than Fiscal Year 2002,” Deal said. “In that same time period state population grew by approximately 1.5 million. Therefore, we are providing more services with fewer resources.”