Georgia state budget (2012-2013)

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Governor Nathan Deal signed the FY 2013 state budget into law on May 7, 2012.[1] He vetoed some items, including:
  • An appropriation of $1.75 million to cover a weight-loss surgery benefit in the state's health plan;[1]
  • $500,000 for small-town airports;[1]
  • $256,800 for renovation of the Rural Development Center at the University of Georgia's campus in Tifton. The governor noted that the project was not sought by the Board of Regents and did not appear on the board's list of priorities for capital projects.[1]

The general fund was $19.3 billion, and total state and federal spending totaled more than $39 billion.[1][2]

Additional cuts

In August 2012, the governor's Office of Planning and Budget told the heads of state agencies to come up with additional reductions of $553 million over FY2013 and FY2014 due to concerns over the state's economy. Most agencies were told they had to submit three percent spending cuts for the rest of this year and for 2014, but the majority of K-12 school funding was exempt from the cuts. The cuts included $108 million from the University System of Georgia (with $54 million of that to come in FY2013) and $170 million from the Department Community Health, which handled Medicaid and PeachCare.[3]

Legislative Proposed Budget

A conference committee comprised of members from both chambers negotiated a compromise budget.[4] On March 27, 2012, the Georgia General Assembly approved the negotiated $19.3 billion state general fund budget, with the Senate doing so by a vote of 45-0 and the House vote of 143-24.[5] All budgets together spent about $39.5 billion overall, including federal tax money.[5] The spending plan puts $111 million -- much of it from the national mortgage lawsuit settlement -- into new economic development efforts.[5]

Items cut from the budget include:

  • $750,000 for a state history museum;
  • Redirecting $10 million earlier approved for the College Football Hall of Fame to other projects.[5]

On March 21, 2012, the Senate unanimously passed its $19.2 billion version of the FY2013 state budget. The state would borrow about $800 million for construction projects under the Senate plan. The Senate also had a provision changing the HOPE scholarship fund, which the budgets from the governor and House did not address.[4]

The House approved its draft of the budget on March 6, 2012. The House plan was similar to the governor's proposed budget, but included additional funding for education and increased the fuel funds for the Georgia State Patrol. The House did not go along with Deal's plan giving local school leaders the ability to spend nearly $16 million earmarked for student nutrition programs on other aspects of schooling.[6]

Governor's Proposed Budget

The budget increased spending from $18.3 billion in FY2012 to $19 billion in FY2013. “When adjusted for inflation per capita spending in my budget recommendation for fiscal year 2013 is 20.5 percent less than Fiscal Year 2002,” Deal said.[7][8]

Gov. Nathan Deal's proposed FY2013 budget included consolidating some state agencies.[9] Deal's proposed budget included expenditures of $19.2 billion.[10] Highlights of the budget include:

  • $89 million was earmarked to fund higher enrollment in Georgia's public elementary, middle and high schools;[10]
  • $235.6 million to the University System of Georgia for new construction, renovation projects and equipment purchases;[11]
  • $60 million was set aside for teacher raises;[12]
  • Elimination of the State Personnel Administration.[10]

Gov. Deal said he hopes to expand his use of zero-based budgeting in FY2013.[10]

The governor also proposed eliminating the sales tax on energy used in manufacturing.[13]