$2K teacher pay hike, tax refunds included in Gov. Brian Kemp’s budget

Budget also includes tax refunds for single, family filers
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp gives his inaugural address on Jan. 12, 2023.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp gives his inaugural address on Jan. 12, 2023.(Contributed)
Published: Jan. 13, 2023 at 8:57 AM EST|Updated: Jan. 13, 2023 at 10:29 AM EST
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - Gov. Brian Kemp’s budget that was presented to lawmakers on Friday includes a $2,000 pay hike for Georgia pre-K–12 teachers and certified K-12 personnel.

According to the Professional Association of Georgia Educators (PAGE), the $2,000 raise would be in addition to the $5,000 increase delivered during Kemp’s first term.

Kemp hinted at the increase during his inauguration ceremony Thursday. Kemp easily defeated a reelection challenge from Democrat Stacey Abrams last November, earning more votes than any other Republican on Georgia’s 2022 midterm ballot.

“As we look ahead to the upcoming fiscal year, we expect the state’s economy to be well positioned to withstand any further national economic slowing,” Kemp wrote in an introductory letter to lawmakers. “As such, the Amended FY 2023 and FY 2024 budgets I am presenting herein ensure that we continue to meet our financial obligations as a state while also investing in the education, health, and safety of our citizens to maintain our position as the best state in the county to live, work, and raise our families.”

Kemp is proposing using $1 billion in reserves to provide a $250 tax refund for single filers and a $500 refund for joint filers.

“I also am recommending funds for a one-time Homeowner Tax Relief Grants program which will provide property tax relief for every eligible homeowner in calendar year 2023,” Kemp wrote. “Through this plan, homeowners will receive a $20,000 exemption for their assessed home value on their 2023 property tax bill, resulting in an average savings of $500.”

Full coverage of this year’s Georgia General Assembly

Georgia saw state revenues spike to $36.6 billion in the year ending June 30, according to the Associated Press. Revenues had originally been projected to fall back to $30.2 billion this year. But through December, the halfway point of the 2023 budget year, tax receipts are running nearly $1 billion above that projection, according to numbers released Friday.

The state now projects it will collect $32.6 billion this year, a surplus of $2.4 billion. That will include fuel tax collections, which resumed Wednesday after being suspended since March. They’re likely to add another $170 million a month.

Click here to read Kemp’s proposed budget.

“We are encouraged by Gov. Kemp’s announcement today of a proposed $2,000 increase to the state salary schedule for Georgia pre-K–12 teachers and certified K-12 personnel,” said PAGE Executive Director Craig Harper. “There is no doubt that a salary increase would assist with recruitment and retention of excellent educators for Georgia’s children.”

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