The nice thing about a fiscal note is that all sides consider it at least a good-faith estimate, free of industry or partisan spin. But Georgia legislators often don’t have a nonpartisan official estimate of what their votes will mean for the state’s finances.
Georgia will have about $27.5 billion to spend in the year that begins in July. The new governor is making proposed teacher raises a centerpiece. Democrats are pressing to spend on a Medicaid expansion.
Republican Gov.-elect Brian Kemp said it’s time to “put politics behind us,” addressing a group of mainly lawmakers and lobbyists, in a bit of an opening speech ahead of his first legislative session as governor.
Georgia’s majority-Republican legislature has warmed to mass transit funding in metro Atlanta and other areas — a bit. Some of the GOP contenders for top office are more on board with the trend than others.
A state that’s been reluctant to bankroll buses and the train in its biggest metro has announced a major mass transit spend by Georgia standards — $100 million. That’ll be a substantial downpayment on rapid bus service along Ga. 400.
Atlanta’s quick to name the block-busting Hollywood films and TV shows made in the city — Black Panther, The Walking Dead and so on. But local artists say a little more love for the city’s home-grown film, sculpture, dance and other arts would pay off in more ways than one.
The Atlanta City Council is poised to wait until after the city election on Nov. 7 to consider rate hikes for art programs at Chastain Arts Center and Gallery and a new fee structure to rent the city’s gallery, Gallery 72. The proposals have been pending since they were introduced in April.
By Guest Columnist GIL ROGERS, director of the Southern Environmental Law Center’s Georgia and Alabama offices
On July 4th, many Georgians celebrate by heading outdoors to cool off in rivers and lakes around the state, hike trails around Georgia’s state parks, and enjoy the fireworks after running Atlanta’s Peachtree Road Race, the world’s largest 10K.
By Guest Columnist TAIFA BUTLER, executive director of the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute
Georgians can find a lot not to like in the federal budget President Trump is proposing. It jeopardizes the state’s financial stability. It promises to hurt the ability of millions of Georgians to meet basic living standards. Even Social Security disability benefits are slashed in the planned budget cuts.