(The Center Square) — The Georgia House signed off on a proposed fiscal 2024 budget, a spending plan that includes raises for state employees and allocates additional funding for law enforcement.
"This budget reflects sound, conservative fiscal policy while demonstrating compassion for Georgians in need," state Rep. Matt Hatchett, R-Dublin, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, said in an announcement. "We have been good stewards of the taxpayer dollars with which we have been entrusted, and I am proud of all the House members and staff who worked on this important piece of legislation."
House Bill 19 includes $61 billion in total funds, including more than $32.4 billion in state funds.
The numbers are in line with the $61.5 billion, including nearly $32.6 billion in state money, lawmakers included in the amended fiscal 2023 spending plan they signed off on earlier this week.
The House version of the fiscal 2024 budget includes a $4,000 raise for all state law enforcement officers, while other state employees, including public school teachers, will see a $2,000 raise. According to state officials, some positions experiencing higher turnover could see larger raises in a bid to increase recruitment and retention.
Lawmakers included $26.7 million to give state retirees a one-time $500 payment.
Earlier this week, House Speaker Jon Burns, R-Newington, announced the budget would include nearly $1.3 million for a satellite state patrol post in Atlanta’s Buckhead community. The House’s version of the budget also includes more than $2.7 million for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to establish a cold case office and $1.5 million for additional forensic sciences staff.
The budget starts July 1. It heads to the State Senate for consideration.
Separately, the state House passed House Bill 162, which would send $1 billion in tax refunds to Georgia residents.
Under the plan, the state would send $250 rebates to single taxpayers or married taxpayers filing separately and $500 rebates to married couples filing a joint return. It would also give heads of households $375 rebates.