Gov. Nathan Deal today signed the Amended FY 2017 budget at a signing ceremony in Augusta, authorizing $24.3 billion in spending for the current fiscal year. The state appropriations within HB 43 are based on a 3 percent growth in revenues over FY 2016 collections. This additional funding will allow the state to implement initiatives in public safety and cybersecurity, address growth needs in education and human services, improve Georgia’s transportation network and make long-term strategic investments in economic development efforts.
“With this amended budget, we are investing in Georgia’s top priorities and addressing the most critical issues facing our state,” said Deal. “This budget reflects the solid economic growth that Georgia continues to enjoy and ensures that our communities will be safer tomorrow than they were yesterday. As we look to maintain Georgia as the No. 1 place in which to do business today, we are also looking to the future so that Georgia will lead the way in job creation and cybersecurity. I want to thank the members of the General Assembly who made this amended budget possible, as their quick and unified action will have a significant and lasting impact in the lives of Georgians.”
The Amended FY 2017 budget includes $50 million to establish the Georgia Cyber Innovation and Training Center that will be located on state-owned property in Augusta. The partnership between state and federal agencies, as well as the private sector, will create a secure environment for cybersecurity education programs, testing and training. Already home to the Cyber Center of Excellence and the future headquarters of the U.S. Army cyber command headquarters, the Georgia Cyber Innovation and Training Center will promote modernization in cybersecurity technology for both private and public industries in Georgia and beyond.
An additional $36.5 million is included in the budget for the OneGeorgia Authority and the Regional Economic Business Assistance (REBA) program. These funds will be distributed as grants for economic development projects, further investing in the enterprises that create jobs across the state.
The amended budget also includes $27.3 million for a 20 percent increase in salaries for law enforcement officers, as well as additional increases for public safety trainers and criminal investigators. The salary increases went into effect on January 1 and were implemented to reduce turnover and improve recruitment. Since the increase was announced in September, the Department of Public Safety has received twice as many state trooper applications as usual.
Additional highlights of the Amended FY 2017 budget include:
- $109 million for a mid-term adjustment to meet growth in the Quality Basic Education program for K-12 education
- $108.7 million in new state general and motor fuel funds for transportation resulting from HB 170 (2015 Session), as well as an additional $10 million in one-time funds for the Georgia Transportation Infrastructure Bank
- $52.6 million in one-time funds to update and refresh vehicles, equipment and facilities at state agencies, including Forestry equipment to aid in preventing and combating wildfires and law enforcement vehicles for the Department of Public Safety, the Department of Community Supervision, Georgia Department of Corrections, Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Juvenile Justice
- $15 million for Forestland Protection Act grants, of which more than $8 million is expected to go directly to local school systems
- $28.6 million to meet increased demand in child welfare services programs
- $16.8 million for the Move On When Ready dual enrollment program to meet projected demand
- $2.4 million to establish the Georgia Center for Early Language and Literacy at Georgia College and State University