Georgia House, Senate Leaders Agree To $1,000 Bonuses For Most State Employees
Georgia lawmakers are setting aside nearly $60 million from this year’s amended budget to give $1,000 bonuses to tens of thousands of state employees.
The one-time bonuses will go to those who make less than $80,000 per year.
Gov. Brian Kemp says the move is meant to thank front-line workers for their efforts during the pandemic.
“They have been going above and beyond the call of duty to deliver essential services to our most vulnerable, keeping our businesses open and deliver financial assistance to those who, quite honestly, many days were losing hope,” said Kemp.
House Speaker David Ralston said the bonuses will go to 57,000 workers from nearly every state agency.
“We’re talking about front-line employees at the Georgia Department of Public Health who have fought COVID-19 day after day,” said Ralston. “We’re talking about our Georgia State Patrol and other state law enforcement who have tried to keep the peace in the tough days we’ve seen over the last year,” he said.
Ralston also noted the work of food inspectors and social workers.
Georgia’s revenue estimates are coming in higher than first projected. This has allowed the governor and lawmakers to put millions of dollars back into state agencies following deep budget cuts last year.
Many Democrats have been calling for the state to use more from its rainy day fund to completely restore the cuts.
Republicans have credited Kemp for the early reopening of the state’s economy after the initial coronavirus lockdown last spring. But critics say it put too many front-line employees at risk. Georgia ranks in the middle among the 50 states in deaths per 100,000 residents.
The Georgia Senate passed its version of the amended fiscal year budget Tuesday. Ralston says the money for the bonuses for state employees is included in the conference committee, which is reconciling the differences in the House and Senate budgets.
Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan said the bonuses were to reward the “grueling hours” worked by state employees.
“I want to personally thank the House for the leadership on this issue as we partner together to show our state employees the value we place on their work and the role they play in making Georgia a great state,” said Duncan.