This week, the Senate passed one of the most important pieces of legislation that we will see all year: The Amended 2017 Fiscal Year (FY) budget.
The AFY 2017 budget (also known as the "little budget") is passed halfway through each fiscal year. AFY 2017 revenue stands at around $24 billion and will be used to make adjustments to our currently under or over funded programs and departments.
One of the biggest changes was to add $27.2 million in funds for salary increases for law enforcement officers. This salary increase is critical to address turnover and to ensure Georgia is retaining top tier talent.
Additionally, we added $2.5 million to fund a 57 percent per diem increase for foster parents and $50 million for the creation of the new Georgia Cyber Range in Augusta.
In the amended budget, education makes up the bulk of the budget's anticipated expenditures.
Georgia's technical schools are becoming a more and more popular alternative for students who wish to pursue career paths in any number of high-demand industries across the state. To respond to the growing number of interested students and to meet the high demand of skilled labor jobs, the budget allots $5.5 million in additional funds for career, technical and agricultural education equipment grants.
The budget also calls for an added $16.8 million for our Move on When Ready dual enrollment education program so we can continue to allow high school students to receive college credit.
Other highlights include an additional $91.8 million for adjustments for enrollment growth, $9.1 million State Commission Charter School Supplement and $9.9 million in grants for our charter school system. These funds are all necessary to ensure that our education system keeps up with the rigorous standards expected of our students.
If you have any questions about the proposed AFY17 budget or would like to review it, you can find it at: http://www.senate.ga.gov/sbeo/Documents/AppropriationsDocuments/FY2017/Amended/AFY17_SAC_FINAL.pdf
If you have any questions about the proposed amended budget or legislation coming through the Senate, please feel free to contact my office.
Sen. Steve Gooch serves as Majority Whip of the Senate Majority Caucus. He represents the 51st Senate District which includes Dawson, Fannin, Gilmer, Lumpkin, Union and White counties and portions of Forsyth and Pickens counties. He may be reached at (404) 656-9221 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.