Politics

Ga.’s Transportation, Medicaid Funding Challenges Not Unique

Georgia lawmakers passed a $1 billion transportation bill in 2015 that included the first tax hikes in years.
Georgia lawmakers passed a $1 billion transportation bill in 2015 that included the first tax hikes in years.
Credit Gregor Smith / flickr.com/flc

When the Georgia legislature voted this year to raise taxes to pay for transportation projects, it was partly due to Congressional inaction over how to continue a federal highway trust fund.

That challenge was symbolic of what other states have faced, not only for highway projects, but with other issues including state Medicaid funding and income inequality.

On “A Closer Look,” Jeffrey Stinson, the editor of Stateline, which reports and analyzes trends in state policy, said federal political gridlock in Washington has had an adverse effect on many states.

Stateline, which is a project of the Pew Charitable Trusts, recently issued a 2015 legislative review that had a strong focus on transportation funding.

Stinson told hosts Rose Scott and Jim Burress that another factor in funding challenges is the stronger hold that Republicans have had on state governments nationwide.

The discussion also included prospects for state Medicaid expansion in Georgia, especially in wake of the Supreme Court ruling upholding Affordable Care Act subsidies in states that don’t have federal exchanges.

Georgia is one of the states without an exchange, and Gov. Nathan Deal has ruled out expanding Medicaid, saying the state cannot afford it.