Gov. Nathan Deal today signed into law the Fiscal Year 2014 budget, which takes effect upon the start of the fiscal year on July 1. This marks the third year in a row the governor successfully and conservatively balanced the state's budget while reducing government spending by implementing austerity cuts, without raising taxes, and preserving Georgia's coveted AAA bond rating.
"The General Assembly and I have once again enacted a budget that holds the line on spending, while funding the priorities that continue to help make Georgia the No. 1 place in the country in which to do business and create jobs," Deal said. "Even with improving revenue numbers, state government faced another round of cuts because of the growth of expenses in education and in our Medicaid program. I commend the General Assembly once more for its responsible work, which focuses on the core functions of state government."
Deal took a conservative approach in setting the revenue estimate given the national uncertainty with the federal debt limit and budget negotiations that could impact state revenues. In order to meet reduced revenue estimates and growth needs in K-12 and Medicaid, agencies again took 3 percent budget cuts, with the exception of select public safety and human services agencies.
The FY 2014 budget includes general fund growth of 4.6 percent or $818.5 million over the amended budget estimate. This includes the reauthorization of hospital provider payment legislation.
FY 2014 includes $147 million through the Quality Basic Education program for enrollment growth and, training and experience of Georgia's teachers to recognize a 1.36 percent increase in enrollment.
FY 2014 includes $38 million in new funding for the Quality Basic Education Equalization program to assist low-wealth school systems.
FY 2014 includes $84.7 million for the Board of Regents to fund growth within our colleges and universities.
FY 2014 includes $290.3 million in bonds for new capital projects as well as major repairs and renovations at all University System of Georgia institutions.
FY 2014 includes $13 million to increase the pre-k instructional calendar to 180 days, providing $312 million in lottery funds for 84,000 slits for 4-year-olds.
FY 2014 includes $5 million in additional funds for cancer-related research and $45 million in bonds for a new cancer research building at Georgia Regents University.
FY 2014 includes $92 million in bonds for renovations, equipment, and new building construction for the Technical College System.
FY 2014 includes $50 million in bonds for the deepening of the Savannah Harbor.
FY 2014 includes $7 million for grants to charter systems that are within their initial contract.
FY 2014 increases the award amount for HOPE scholarships and HOPE grants by 3 percent over FY 2013.
FY 2014 includes $4.8 million to open the new Rockdale Regional Youth Detention Center, and renovate and open the new Bill Ireland facility- a 30-bed youth development campus.
FY 2014 includes $246.7 million for Medicaid and PeachCare to fund expense growth, recognize additional nursing home and hospital provider fees.
The FY 2014 budget development process includes a zero-based budget (ZBB) analysis of 57 budgetary programs, including all programs for the Georgia Department of Education. Future budgets will continue to use a ZBB review process for approximately 10 percent of budgetary programs each year.