2013 Legislative Report - Week 2
Published: January 23, 2013
By Mark S. Woodall
Director of Governmental Affairs
Legislators are spending this week in recess, while Joint House/Senate Appropriation Hearings take place regarding Georgia’s 2013 budget. Appropriations Committee Chairs Senator Jack Hill and Representative Terry England are leading the hearings where state agencies present proposed budgets, and respond to questioning from committee members. Georgia’s tax revenue has improved the past few years, but is still a ways from reaching a full recovery status.
Governor Deal presented his budget at the Joint Budget Hearings yesterday. He is proposing 3% cuts across the board, with slightly more funding for the state Pre-K program, the HOPE scholarship, and juvenile justice reform. Deal also pushed to renew a hospital bed tax aimed at shoring up the state Medicaid program. "We cannot afford to have a $700 million hole in our Medicaid budget," said Deal. The Governor’s budget projects 4.8 % revenue growth in 2014. That's compared to the 3.9 % growth experienced this year.
House Appropriations Chair Terry England said the numbers are reason for cautious optimism, but warned the state isn't out of the woods yet. Senate Appropriations Chair Jack Hill said ultimately the final budget won't veer too far from the governor's recommendations. . . .