Georgia Governor Kemp praises the hard work of officials during the pandemic
Elected officials and judges in Georgia will not be receiving a year-end payment, according to an announcement made by Governor Kemp. Speaking at the Georgia State Capitol on Monday, Kemp stated that given the efforts of these individuals to serve the state during the pandemic and improve government efficiency, it is appropriate to forgo the year-end payment.
Permanent pay raises under review
While the decision regarding the year-end payment has been made, the Kemp administration is still reviewing whether to propose permanent pay raises in the upcoming budget. Governor Kemp and top Republican state lawmakers are indicating their expectation that pay raises may be forthcoming. This follows a history of $7,000 pay raises granted to state and university employees, as well as teachers, during Kemp’s time as governor.
$330 million in bonuses approved
Lawmakers have approved nearly $330 million in bonuses, which will come from the current year’s budget. The money will be included in a budget amendment that will be approved when the legislature reconvenes in January. The bonuses are expected to be reflected in employees’ last paycheck in December, providing a boost to their holiday season.
Bonuses as a retention incentive
These bonuses are intended as an incentive for teachers and employees to retain their current positions. Recent data has shown a decline in teacher retention in the state. Governor Kemp emphasized the importance of retaining skilled and knowledgeable individuals and stated that the one-time end-of-year retention payment will help achieve that goal.
Proposed school security funding
Governor Kemp also announced a proposed permanent allocation of $104 million per year for school security. This funding would provide $45,000 to every public school in the state, allowing for ongoing spending on security measures. The money can be used for various security purposes, but it is primarily intended to support the hiring of school resource officers.
Additional proposals for school security
In addition to the proposed funding for school security, Lieutenant Governor Burt Jones has suggested an additional $10,000 per year for individuals to become certified to carry firearms on campus. These measures aim to strengthen school security and ensure the safety of students and staff.
2024 fiscal year budget amendments
The pay supplement and school security funding will be included in the state’s amended 2024 fiscal year budget. Governor Kemp expressed his commitment to rewarding teachers and state employees for their hard work and dedication to serving the people of Georgia.
State tax collections and surplus
Despite a slight decline in tax revenue, Georgia’s state tax collections are on track to generate another multibillion-dollar surplus. This surplus, combined with the state’s rainy day account, which holds $5.4 billion, provides Governor Kemp and lawmakers with the ability to propose new spending.
In conclusion, Governor Kemp’s decision to forgo year-end payments for elected officials and judges, along with the approval of significant bonuses and proposed school security funding, reflects the state’s commitment to rewarding hard work and ensuring the safety of its citizens.