Georgia state budget
Energy policy • Public education • School choice • Public pensions • State budget • Ballot measures
|Georgia state budget|
|State Credit Rating:||AAA (as of May 2012)|
|Current Governor:||Nathan Deal|
|GF expenses:||$18.3 billion|
|All funds expenses:||$41.1 billion (estimated for FY 2013)|
|Spending % Change:||0.13%|
|% from Federal Funding:||38.06%|
|Per Capita State Debt:||$11,612|
|Other state budgets|
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- 1 Budget process
- 2 Expenditures
- 3 Revenues
- 4 State budgets by year
- 5 Historical spending
- 6 State debt
- 7 Federal aid to state budget
- 8 Budget transparency
- 9 Accounting principles
- 10 Contact information
- 11 See also
- 12 External links
- 13 References
- A summary of the budget drafting process
- Trends in expenditures and revenues
- Current and past fiscal year budget developments
- Financial transparency measures
Between fiscal year 2009 and fiscal year 2013, Georgia's total expenditures increased by approximately $400 million, from $40.7 billion in 2009 to $41.1 billion in 2013. This represents a 0.8 percent increase, below the cumulative rate of inflation during the same period (9.06 percent, calculated using the Consumer Price Indices for January 2009 and January 2013).
- In July of the year preceding the start of the new fiscal year, the governor sends budget instructions to state agencies.
- In September agencies submit their budget requests to the governor.
- Budget hearings are held with state agencies in November and December.
- Public hearings are held in late January.
- In January the governor submits his or her proposed budget to the state legislature.
- The legislature adopts a budget in March or April, effective for the fiscal year beginning in July. A simple majority is required to pass a budget.
The governor is constitutionally required to submit a balanced budget to the legislature. In turn, the legislature must pass a balanced budget, and any budget signed into law by the governor must be balanced.
Although each state executes its budget process differently, the National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO) breaks down state expenditures into four general categories. This allows for comparisons among the 50 states. NASBO's categories are as follows:
- General fund: "The predominant fund for financing a state’s operations. Revenues are received from broad-based state taxes. However, there are differences in how specific functions are financed from state to state."
- Other funds: "Expenditures from revenue sources that are restricted by law for particular governmental functions or activities. For example, a gasoline tax dedicated to a highway trust fund would appear in the “Other funds” column. For Medicaid, other state funds include provider taxes, fees, donations, assessments, and local funds."
- Federal funds: "Funds received directly from the federal government."
- Bonds: "Expenditures from the sale of bonds, generally for capital projects."
The table below breaks down expenditures for fiscal year 2013 (comparable figures from surrounding states are provided to give additional context). Figures for all columns except "Per capita expenditures" are rendered in millions of dollars (for example, $2,448 translates to $2,448,000,000). Figures in the column labeled "Per capita expenditures" have not been abbreviated.
|Total state expenditures, FY 2013 ($ in millions)|
|State||General fund||Federal funds||Other funds||Bonds||Total||Per capita expenditures**|
| **Per capita figures are calculated by taking the state's total expenditures and dividing by the number of state residents according to United States Census estimates.|
Source: National Association of State Budget Officers
Expenditures by function
State expenditures in Georgia can be further broken down by function (elementary and secondary education, public assistance, etc.). Fiscal year 2012 data is included in the table below (information from neighboring states is provided for additional context). Figures are rendered as percents, indicating the share of the total budget spent per category.
|Expenditures by function, FY 2012 (as percents)|
|State||Elementary and secondary ed.||Higher ed.||Public assistance||Medicaid||Corrections||Transportation||Other|
|Source: National Association of State Budget Officers|
Between 2008 and 2012, state expenditures for higher education rose significantly. During the same time, expenditures for elementary and secondary education fell by 3.7 percentage points, a 13.4 percent decrease in the share of the budget. The table below details changes in expenditures from 2008 to 2012. Figures are rendered as percents, indicating the share of the total budget spent per category.
|Expenditures from 2008 to 2012 (as percents)|
|Year||Elementary and secondary ed.||Higher ed.||Public assistance||Medicaid||Corrections||Transportation||Other|
|Change in %||-3.7%||10.8%||-1.4%||1.9%||0.4%||-0.7%||-7.4%|
|Source: National Association of State Budget Officers|
The table below breaks down general fund revenues by source in fiscal year 2013 (comparable figures from surrounding states are also provided to give additional context). Figures for all columns except "Per capita revenue" are rendered in millions of dollars (for example, $2,448 translates to $2,448,000,000). Figures in the column labeled "Per capita revenue" have not been abbreviated.
|Revenue sources in the general fund, FY 2013 ($ in millions)|
|State||Sales tax||Personal income tax||Corporate income tax||Gaming tax||Other taxes and fees||Total||Per capita revenue**|
| **Per capita figures are calculated by taking the state's total revenues and dividing by the number of state residents according to United States Census estimates for 2013.|
Source: National Association of State Budget Officers
The table below details the change in revenue sources in the general fund from 2009 to 2013. Figures for all columns except "Per capita revenue" are rendered in millions of dollars (for example, $2,448 translates to $2,448,000,000). Figures in the column labeled "Per capita revenue" have not been abbreviated.
|Revenue sources in the general fund, Georgia ($ in millions)|
|Year||Sales tax||Personal income tax||Corporate income tax||Gaming tax||Other taxes and fees||Total||Per capita revenue**|
|Change in %||-1.5%||7.9%||1.6%||N/A||17.2%||6.7%||5.2%|
| **Per capita figures are calculated by taking the state's total revenues and dividing by the number of state residents according to United States Census estimates.|
Source: National Association of State Budget Officers
State budgets by year
Fiscal year 2014
See budget bill: HB 106
|Georgia state budget -- 2014|
|Georgia State Legislature|
|Introduced:||January 17, 2013|
|State House:||March 12, 2013|
|Vote (lower house):||159-15|
|State Senate:||March 22, 2013|
|Vote (upper house):||51-0|
|Conference:||March 28, 2013|
|Conference Vote (upper house):||54-0|
|Conference Vote (lower house):||175-1|
|Signed:||May 7, 2013|
The fiscal year 2014 budget was signed into law by Governor Nathan Deal on May 7, 2013. The budget cut $1 billion from the Quality Basic Education (QBE) program, which is the source of most state money for local districts. The budget did protect other educational funds, such as school nutrition and technology centers as well as professional development and classroom technology swap programs.
Fiscal year 2013
- See also: Georgia state budget (2012-2013)
Fiscal year 2012
- See also: Georgia state budget (2011-2012)
Fiscal year 2011
- See also: Georgia state budget (2010-2011)
Fiscal year 2010
- See also: Georgia state budget (2009-2010)
State budget historical spending below was compiled by the National Association of State Budget Officers. Figures reflect the reported "Total Expenditures" in Table 1. Figures for all columns are rendered in millions of dollars (for example, $2,448 translates to $2,448,000,000).
|Historical state budget spending in Georgia ($ in millions)|
|Fiscal year||General Fund||Other funds||Federal funds||Bonds||Budget totals|
|Total||% of Budget||Total||% of Budget||Total||% of Budget||Total||% of Budget|
|General Fund: The predominant fund for financing a state’s operations. Revenues are received from broad-based state taxes. However, there are differences in how specific functions are financed from state to state.|
Other funds: Expenditures from revenue sources that are restricted by law for particular governmental functions or activities. For example, a gasoline tax dedicated to a highway trust fund would appear in the “Other funds” column. For Medicaid, other state funds include provider taxes, fees, donations, assessments, and local funds.
Federal funds: Funds received directly from the federal government.
Bonds: Expenditures from the sale of bonds, generally for capital projects.
According to a January 2014 report by the nonprofit organization State Budget Solutions, Georgia had a state debt of over $11 billion. Its state debt per capita was $11,612. The report revealed that state governments faced a combined $5.1 trillion in debt, 33 percent of annual gross state product. The obligation amounts to $16,178 per capita in the nation. A bulk of the state debt -- 79 percent -- was linked to unfunded public pensions.
|Total state debt in Georgia|
|Total state debt||$115,193,862,000||11|
|Per capita debt||$11,612||39|
|State and other fund expenditures||$18,198,000,000||5|
A 2012 report from the Pew Center on the States noted that Georgia's pension system was funded at 85 percent at the close of fiscal year 2010, above the 80 precent funding level experts recommend. Consequently, Pew designated the state's pension system as a "solid performer."
The funding ratio for the state's pension system decreased from 94.53 percent in fiscal year 2007 to 82.43 percent in fiscal year 2011, a drop of 12.1 percentage points, or 12.8 percent. Likewise, unfunded liabilities increased from just under $4 billion in fiscal year 2007 to more than $14.8 billion in fiscal year 2011.
States sometimes sell general obligation bonds to investors in order to finance large-scale undertakings (e.g., road construction and other public works projects). Credit rating agencies, such as Standard and Poor's, assign grades to states, evaluating their ability to pay the principal and interest on such bonds. Standard and Poor's grades range from AAA, the highest available, to BBB, the lowest. Generally speaking, a higher credit rating indicates lower risk for an investor, which in turn lowers costs for taxpayers.
The table below lists the Standard and Poor's credit rating for Georgia from 2001 to 2012 (grades from surrounding states are provided for additional context).
|S&P credit ratings from 2001 to 2012|
Federal aid to state budget
- See also: Federal aid to budgets in the 50 states
The chart below notes how much of the state’s general revenues come from the federal government. Figures were calculated by dividing each state’s federal intergovernmental revenue into its general revenue. The number in the rightmost column indicates the state's ranking in relation to the rest of the nation (e.g., if "1," the state receives the highest percentage of federal funding in the nation). Figures from neighboring states are included to provide additional context.
State governments receive aid from the federal government to fund a variety of joint programs, such as Medicaid. Federal aid varies considerably from state to state. For example, Mississippi received approximately $7.7 billion in federal aid in 2012, which accounted for more than 45 percent of the state's general revenues. By contrast, Alaska received roughly $2.9 billion in federal aid in 2012, just under 20 percent of the state's general revenues.
|Federal aid to state budgets in 2012|
|State||Federal aid as % of general revenue||Total federal aid (in millions)||National rank|
According to Recovery.gov, the official government website for the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Georgia received $6.1 billion in federal stimulus funding between February 2009 and June 2013.
|Line item expenditures|
|Public employee salaries|
|Last evaluated in 2012.|
Georgia's constitution and laws do not provide for a given period of time to review bills so that lawmakers and citizens can review them prior to lawmakers voting upon them.
The state's official spending transparency database, mandated by the Transparency in Government Act of May 2008, was launched in January 2009. It is available here.
House Bill 22 (2010) requires governments with annual budgets of more than $1 million to send an electronic copy of their spending plan to the University of Georgia, which posts them online. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that only 33 percent of cities, 57 percent of counties and 83 percent of school districts had submitted their budgets by the end of July 2012. Typically local budgets are approved June 30.
The table to the right is helpful in evaluating the level of transparency provided by Open Georgia.
Multi-measure budget transparency profile
The Institute of Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois created a multi-measure transparency profile for Georgia, which measured state transparency as of September 2011 using indicators from a range of organizations. These indicators measured both website transparency and other recognized facets of governmental transparency. In addition, IGPA presented four unique indicators of non-transparency based on the observation that transfers or reassignments between general and special funds can obscure the true fiscal condition of a state.
IGPA devised a budget transparency index based on information available from the National Association of State Budget Officers. Georgia tied for eighth in the nation with 11 other states, earning six out of eight possible points.
|Georgia - IGPA score for budget process, contents and disclosure|
|Budget transparency indicator||Yes or no?|
|"Generally Accepted Accounting Principles" budget|
|Binding revenue forecast|
|Legislative revenue forecast|
|Constitution or statutory tax/spend limitations|
In addition to the individual state profile, IGPA offers a 50-state comparison and profiles for other states.
U.S. PIRG "Following the Money" report
- See also: Following the Money 2014 Report
The U.S. Public Interest Research Group, a consumer-focused nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., released its annual report on state transparency websites in April 2014. The report, entitled "Following the Money," measured how transparent and accountable state websites are with regard to state government spending. According to the report, Georgia received a grade of C and a numerical score of 74, indicating that Georgia was "middling" in terms of transparency regarding state spending.
- See also: Georgia government accounting principles
The Georgia State Accounting Office was established on October 6, 2004 with an executive order signed by Governor Sonny Perdue. Governor Perdue signed House Bill 293, which codified the realignment of the state's financial reporting and financial system responsibilities under a single State Accounting Officer (SAO). Gregg Griffin was appointed Georgia's State Accounting Officer in August 2008. The SAO's duties include:
- Establishing statewide accounting and reporting standards and practices.
- Operating and improving statewide financial and human capital management systems.
- Preparing the state's Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR), the annual audited financial statement for the entire state entity.
- Providing statewide financial information on interim basis.
- Training state accounting and payroll personnel in new polices, procedures and standards.
- Improving accountability, efficiencies and internal controls.
The Institute for Truth in Accounting (IFTA) rated Georgia “Tardy” in filing the state’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) – The annual report of state and local governmental entities. IFTA rated 22 states timely, 22 states tardy, and 6 states as worst. IFTA did not consider Georgia’s CAFRs, and those of the other states, to be accurate representations of the state’s financial condition because the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) basis did not include significant liabilities for the pension plans and for other post employment benefits, such as health care. Georgia's CAFRs are published online by the Georgia Department of Audits.
Governor's Office of Planning and Budget
270 Washington Street, S.W., 8th Floor
Atlanta, GA 30334
Phone: (404) 656-3820
Fax: (404) 656-3828
- Georgia government sector lobbying
- Georgia public pensions
- Governor of Georgia
- Georgia State Senate
- Georgia House of Representatives
- Georgia State Legislature
- Georgia Auditor
- State Budget Solutions, Georgia
- Open Georgia
- Georgia Public Policy Foundation
- Transparency in Government Initiative
- Secretary of State, Georgia government
- Governor's Office of Planning and Budget
- Georgia State Legislature
- Taxpayer Transparency Act
- Georgia Department of Audits and Accounts
- U.S. PIRG, "Report: Transparent & Accountable Budgets," April 8, 2014
- The New York Times, "Battles loom in many states over what to do with budget surpluses," February 3, 2014
- Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, "Policy Basics: The ABCs of State Budgets," February 7, 2013
- Refers to General Fund spending. Typically in state budgets the General Fund is spending that is most directly controlled by state legislators.
- This figure is derived by calculating the percent difference between the prior two years' spending levels according to the National Association of State Budget Officers.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics, "CPI Detailed Report Data for February 2014," accessed April 9, 2014
- InflationData.com, "Cumulative Inflation Calculator," February 28, 2014
- National Conference of State Legislatures "State Experiences with Annual and Biennial Budgeting," updated April 2011
- National Association of State Budget Officers "Budget Processes in the States, Summer 2008," accessed February 21, 2014
- National Association of State Budget Officers "State Expenditure Report, 2011-2013," accessed February 21, 2014
- United States Census Bureau, "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2013," accessed February 26, 2014
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditure Report, 2009-2011," accessed February 24, 2014
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditures Report, 2010-2012," accessed February 24, 2014
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditure Report, 2009," accessed February 24, 2014
- National Association of State Budget Officers, "State Expenditure Report, 2008," accessed February 24, 2014
- United States Census Bureau, "Vintage 2009: Annual Population Estimates," accessed February 26, 2014
- Georgia General Assembly, "2013-2014 Regular Session - HB 106," accessed April 16, 2014
- Empowered Georgia Action, "Georgia Education Legislation Summation for the 2013 Session," accessed April 16, 2014
- State Budget Solutions, "State Budget Solutions' Fourth Annual State Debt Report," January 8, 2014
- Washington Examiner, "EXography: Unfunded public employee pensions drive state debts skyward," January 21, 2014
- State Budget Solutions "State Budget Solutions' Fourth Annual State Debt Report," January 8, 2014
- Pew Center on the States, "Widening Gap Update: Georgia," June 18, 2012
- Stateline: The Daily News Service of The Pew Charitable Trusts, "Infographic: S&P State Credit Ratings, 2001-2012," July 13, 2012
- United States Census Bureau, "State Government Finances: 2012," accessed February 24, 2014
- Recovery, "Stimulus Spending by State"
- Georgia Legislative Summary (2010), Accessed July 24, 2012
- CBS Atlanta, Ga. governments fail to post electronic budgets, July 23, 2012
- Institute of Government and Public Affairs at University of Illinois, "Home page," accessed February 21, 2014
- Institute of Government and Public Affairs at University of Illinois, "Budget Transparency Profiles - All 50 States," September 2011
- U.S. Public Interest Research Group, "Following the Money 2014 Report," accessed April 15, 2014
- The Georgia State Accounting Office
- Georgia State Accounting Office Web site, accessed October 15, 2009
- The Georgia Department of Audits
- The Institute for Truth in Accounting
- Institute for Truth in Accounting, “The Truth About Balanced Budgets—A Fifty State Study,” Page 35
- The Georgia Department of Audits Web site, accessed October 15, 2009