Gov. Brian Kemp has signed the amended budget for the current fiscal year.
Millions of dollars that had been cut have been put back in. When the FY21 budget was originally signed last June, it featured cuts across state agencies. But on Monday, Kemp struck a more optimistic tone.
“In a year of tough unprecedented times, today is certainly a good day,” Kemp said during a signing ceremony at the state Capitol.
Thanks to better-than-expected revenue estimates, Georgia lawmakers were able to restore funds, including more than $600 million for K-12 education. This includes the purchase of more than 500 new school buses.
The amended budget still relies mostly on federal money to respond to the pandemic. But it does dedicate millions for new technology to track COVID-19 immunizations across the state and funds three new positions within the Department of Public Health.
“We are supporting education, funding public safety and public health,” said Kemp. “We’re setting aside $20 million to expand access to rural broadband.”
Teachers and most state employees will receive a $1,000 bonus while prison guards will get a 10% raise.
The budget includes millions to promote the state’s tourism industry, which has been hit hard by the pandemic.
The amended FY21 budget funds the state government through June 30. Its passage was fast-tracked to make sure it was complete in case of a COVID-19 outbreak at the state Capitol.
Legislators will continue to work on the FY22 budget.