ATLANTA — The Georgia Senate Appropriations Committee put its stamp on Gov. Brian Kemp’s $27.4 billion mid-year budget plan Monday, agreeing with the House on restoring some spending reductions in the governor’s recommendations while putting back other cuts on their own.
The fiscal 2020 mid-year budget, which covers state spending through June 30, complies with 4% across-the-board spending cuts Kemp ordered last August to help offset sluggish state tax collections. Many of those reductions started taking effect last fall.
But the committee also put back some of the funding reductions the governor proposed in areas lawmakers consider critical.
“What we tried to do is restore cuts where we can to services that directly affect children, the elderly, the disabled, and essential public safety needs,” said committee Chairman Sen. Jack Hill, R-Reidsville.
The Senate committee’s version of the mid-year budget includes $255.7 million to cover enrollment growth in Georgia’s public schools since the General Assembly adopted the fiscal 2020 spending plan last spring.
The committee agreed with the House on adding $819,000 to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s budget to hire additional agents and analysts, and the Senate added another $420,000 to put in place a database to track gang activity.
The Senate mid-year budget also stepped up the state’s commitment to programs primarily affecting rural Georgia, kicking in an additional $500,000 to add health-care staff in rural communities, $197,000 to serve rural patients suffering from depression and $136,000 for maternal- and children’s-health services, which are lacking more in rural areas than in the state’s cities and suburbs.
The Senate disagreed with the House by restoring $2.1 million for the Department of Public Safety’s trooper school. The House cut the money out of the mid-year budget after an entire class of trooper candidates was fired for cheating on an exam.
The committee agreed with the House in adding back a $1.2 million reduction in funding for public libraries.
The full Senate is expected to vote on the mid-year budget on Wednesday.