We have passed a budget for FY 2022. There are still major gaps—such as Georgia's refusal to participate in Medicaid funding that would help so many Georgians. Very disappointing. Highlights from the House Budget and Research Office.
I joined the Speaker's press conference announcing the House addition of $36 million for mental health to the Governor's proposed budget, bringing the total to $58 million. Desperately needed for many years, the pandemic has exposed and exacerbated mental health problems for many Georgians. I serve on the House Subcommittee for Health and Human Services and advocated for additional funding.
We have passed a budget for FY 2022. There are still major gaps -- such as Georgia's refusal to participate in Medicaid funding that would help so many Georgians. Very disappointing. Highlights from the House Budget and Research Office.
Some highlights I pulled for you:
Nearly 90% of the new revenue for FY 2022 is programmed to be spent within education and health and human services agencies.
$39.5 million for the OneGeorgia Authority to establish a Rural Innovation Fund to assist rural communities in developing targeted solutions for economic, medical, technological, or infrastructure challenges within their regions.
$10 million to the OneGeorgia Authority to establish a broadband infrastructure grant program. This add, combined with $20 million provided in the Amended FY 2021 budget (HB 80, 2020 Session), will assist rural communities in leveraging federal, local, and private resources to target broadband needs in their area.
$146.6 million in bonds dedicated to economic development. These projects improve infrastructure and promote tourism throughout the state.
K-12 education is the largest single expenditure in the state’s budget, totaling $10.2 billion, or 43.8% of the state general funds budget. The FY 2021 budget included a reduction of $950 million to the Quality Basic Education formula (QBE) due to a decline in state revenues as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic; HB 81 restores $567 million, or 60% of that reduction, to QBE formula earnings. The sustained reduction to QBE is now $383 million, or (4%).
Leadership positions in the state’s health agencies by annualizing three positions in the Department of Public Health for a chief medical examiner, deputy commissioner of public health, and chief data officer ($857,986) as well as two senior leadership positions to support the Department of Community Health’s increasing workload ($556,456).
$1.5 million for DPH for the ongoing maintenance and operations of the new vaccine management system funded in the Amended FY 2021 budget.
The House restores $58.5 million for the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, which includes an additional $36.3 million over the governor’s recommendation.
Additionally, $394,289 is added for suicide prevention services, including funds for suicide prevention training in schools and the state’s first suicide epidemiologist.
The House provides $12.3 million for a 5% rate increase for providers, contingent on approval by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. $4.6 million is also added to fully restore the FY 2021 reduction to non-waiver services in family support.
The House version of the FY 2022 budget also recognizes $7.6 million in collected ride share fees provided for by HB 105 (2020 Session). After receiving a revised revenue estimate from the governor, the House uses these funds to: boost the Intermodal program by $638,448 for transit programs across the state; add $1 million in funding for Athens-Clarke Transit; and fund $6 million to the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA). MARTA will use the funds to complete improvements at its Bankhead Station in order to improve accessibility near the newly announced Microsoft campus.