Georgia teachers and state employees to receive pay raises when state budget is passed | Trending Viral hub

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ATLANTA– Pay raises for Georgia’s public school teachers and state employees were never in doubt politically from the time Gov. Brian Kemp proposed them, but lawmakers finally got the deal done Thursday, approving a budget that also increases the spending on education. health care and mental health.

Senators and representatives resolved their differences over House Bill 916, which passed the House 175-1 and the Senate 54-1. The budget spends $36.1 billion in state money and $66.8 billion total in the year that begins July 1.

“As they say, let’s not let the perfect be the enemy of the good,” said House Appropriations Committee Chairman Matt Hatchett, a Dublin Republican, explaining that not all requests were met, but many were.

The spending would be reduced from this year’s budget after Gov. Brian Kemp and lawmakers supplemented that budget with billions in one-time cash, increasing state spending to $38 billion in the year ending June 30. Kemp endorsed the budget in remarks to lawmakers Thursday and is expected to sign it.

Public school teachers would receive a $2,500 raise starting July 1, raising the average teacher salary in Georgia above $65,000 a year, as the Republican governor proposed in January. This is in addition to the $1,000 bonus Kemp sent in December. Preschool teachers would also receive a $2,500 raise.

State and university employees would also get a 4% pay increase, up to $70,000 in salary. The typical state employee earns $50,400.

Some employees would receive more. State law enforcement officers would receive an additional $3,000 raise, on top of the special $6,000 boost they received last year. Child welfare workers would also receive additional raises of $3,000.

However, judges will not get the large proposed pay increases. Instead, they will only receive the 4% that other state employees will receive.

A big winner in the budget would be Georgia’s public preschool program. Kemp declared Wednesday that lawmakers could spend an additional $48 million in lottery funds. Lawmakers directed nearly all of that money to the state Department of Early Care and Learning, a move that won applause from Senate Minority Leader Gloria Butler, a Democrat from Stone Mountain.

“For most of my 30 years in the Senate, Democrats pushed for that funding,” Butler said. “Tonight my friends mostly listened.”

The state would spend hundreds of millions of dollars more to increase what it pays to nursing homes, home health care providers, dialysis providers, physical and occupational therapists and some doctors, but lawmakers cut some of those rate increases in your final document.

Lawmakers agreed to spend nearly $19 million more on domestic violence shelters and sexual assault response to offset the large cuts in federal funding facing some agencies.

The budget would also increase the amount local school boards have to pay health insurance for non-certified employees such as janitors, cafeteria workers and secretaries.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Blake Tillery, R-Vidalia, argued it was fair to accelerate the phase-in of higher premiums because of other funding the state is pumping into education, including the $205 million increase in participation of the state in the purchase and operation of school buses. and $104 million for school safety. The Senate would add another $5 million for school safety to develop school safety plans.

Lawmakers earmarked another $60 million for new construction projects. Tillery said that was at Kemp’s urging, seeking not to commit as much money to new, ongoing expenses in case revenue drops.

The state already plans to pay cash for new buildings and equipment in the next budget, instead of borrowing as usual, reflecting billions in cash surpluses Georgia has accumulated in recent years.

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