The Georgia General Assembly is now through Day 13 of the 2023 Legislative Session. With all the cobwebs dusted off and the game of musical chairs settled as representatives and senators settle into their offices and committees, the action under the Gold Dome is finally starting to heat up.
Governor Kemp’s State of the State Address
Governor Kemp laid out his legislative agenda during his state of the state address, calling it a “new era” for the state. Despite the pandemic and the challenges that have followed, Governor Kemp said his first term built “Georgia’s house” on a firm foundation. Now, the governor is looking to use the state’s budget surplus and an influx of new economic activity to build communities by increasing healthcare access, strengthening the state education system,
and bolstering public safety.
Governor Kemp announced his plan to return the HOPE Scholarship Program to its original purpose of providing 100% tuition for public colleges in Georgia. Returning HOPE to its initial funding level would culminate a yearslong lobbying effort from higher education advocates, including Republicans and Democrats.
Of particular note, the governor teased the introduction of his plan to expand workforce housing. While multiple states face a housing crisis, Georgia’s need is exacerbated by the imminent arrival of a myriad of electric vehicle manufacturing facilities and other significant economic investment projects, a vital component of the governor’s agenda.
House Passes Supplemental Budget
Last Thursday, the Georgia House of Representatives passed the Mid-Year Supplemental Budget by a vote of 170 to 1. The budget now travels across the Capitol to the Senate and, likely, Governor Kemp’s desk. This budget amends the version passed by lawmakers last year in anticipation of our current fiscal year.
As a state with a yearly legislative session, Georgia passes two budgets each during the 40 legislative days. The supplemental budget corrects the estimations made in the previous session about the current fiscal year. Meanwhile, the full budget lays out the state’s budgetary framework for the fiscal year that will start in July of this year. This year’s supplemental budget increases spending by almost $2.4 billion compared to the original budget passed last session. If passed, the supplemental budget will be the second in a row to increase spending compared to the state’s initial
The version of the supplemental budget passed through the House included Governor Kemp’s plan to provide an almost $1 billion property tax cut. The cut’s enacting legislation is currently in the House.
We expect more and more legislation will be dropped this week as lawmakers file bills on any number of important subjects, particularly, health care, economic development, workforce housing, and gaming.