Gov. Nathan Deal signed off on Georgia’s $25 billion fiscal year 2018 budget that includes pay raises for teachers, law enforcement officers and child protective services employees on Monday.
The governor’s office said the budget included a 3.5 percent increase in general fund revenues from the current fiscal year’s budget. Deal signed it into law during a series of public ceremonies held throughout the state, and it will go into effect on July 1.
“The FY 2018 budget maintains Georgia’s position as a national leader in conservative fiscal management and further strengthens our top priorities: quality education for all children, public safety in our communities, an economy that continues to generate jobs and an infrastructure system that supports a growing population,” Deal said in a statement.
“With this budget, we are working to make Georgia a better place to live, work and play by investing in public safety personnel, teachers and others responsible for ensuring the safety of Georgia’s children.”
The new budget includes several Gwinnett-related items, including funds for a juvenile justice transition center, a day reporting center, an expansion of the GRTA Xpress bus park and ride at Sugarloaf Mills and an expansion of an academic building at Georgia Gwinnett College.
The big items in the budget, though, are the 2 percent raises for teachers, school nurses and bus drivers ($160.1 million); 19 percent raises for child protective services employees ($25.9 million) and 20 percent raises for state law enforcement ($55.2 million).
The budget also includes an $162.6 million to pay for road and bridge maintenance, $156.8 million for enrollment growth in schools, $85.8 million for the Quality Basic Education Equalization program, $31 million for per diem rate increases for foster parents or relatives who are raising children, $115.4 million for performance-based incentives for employees, $20.5 million for the Move on When Ready program, $36.4 million to build and equip a new GBI crime lab in Savannah, $20.8 million for autism services that are provided to children on Medicaid.
“Georgia has enjoyed sustained economic growth and this budget lays the foundation for continued short-term and long-term success,” Deal said. “I commend the General Assembly for working with me once again to balance the budget while addressing the issues that matter most to Georgia’s citizens.”