With the Georgia General Assembly in session for 2014, among the key legislative items that have to be passed is the state’s budget.
The state must pass a balanced budget during the session, as required by the state constitution.
According to State Representative Tom McCall, only ten states in the United States have a Triple A bond rating, and Georgia is included in that group.
McCall says in the state’s FY 2015 budget, that more money, approximately 35 million dollars, is going towards the deepening of the Savannah River port.
Factor in the federal money set aside for the project, which totals out to 266 million dollars for the port deepening.
McCall says those additions funds should speed up the process.
“That it would speed up this process by two or three years, so I don’t exactly how that works with the language in there, but it may be speeding up how quickly the money gets to the deepening project”, explained McCall.
Another big issue in the state’s budget is education, which McCall says 82% of new money is going towards education, eight billion for K-12 alone.
He says the state is adding 553 million of new money to go back to local school systems; however the state is very limited on how they can restrict the spending of that money.
“So they have to make the decision on whether they want to eliminate furlough days, increase instructional days, increase teacher salaries, or whatever, but the biggest complaint that we have gotten from superintendents is the austerity cuts that have happened the past few years”, said McCall. “Where there is 553 million dollars of new money going back to the local system to use however they think they may need it.”
He adds some stipulations could possibly be tied to some of that money, but was not sure how that would be enacted at this point.
The Georgia General Assembly gathers for forty days, and must pass the FY 2015 budget within that timeframe.