The Georgia Budget and Policy Institute advocates for policies that increase well-being and economic security for Georgia’s marginalized communities. These are the state policy priorities GBPI will pursue during 2024. For more insights throughout Legislative Session, be sure to register for our Insights Conference, follow @GaBudget on Twitter or @georgiabudget on Instagram and sign up for our newsletter. For the status of related bills at the end of the 2023 legislative session, please see our bill tracker and 2023 Sine Die Blog.
Fund State Government Transparently, Equitably and Responsibly
- Advance transparency and accountability in Georgia’s tax code through evaluation, public reporting, legislative oversight, and by establishing common-sense parameters for major tax credit programs, building on the momentum of the 2023 Joint Tax Credit Review Panel.
- Leverage the state’s $16B surplus to implement equitable, long-term, strategic investments like a child care trust fund and modernization of K-12 pupil transportation.
- Analyze state budget proposals for Amended Fiscal Year (AFY) 2024 and the full-year FY 2025 to ensure the result is fair and sufficiently appropriates funding for critical services and programs like health and education.
- Pass a state-level Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit, which would boost take-home pay and cut taxes for families with low and middle incomes.
- Increase the Child and Dependent Tax Credit to 100 percent of the federal level and make it fully refundable.
Ensure Equitable Education
Deploy strategic investments for a high-quality education, giving rise to intellectual, technical and social skills that contribute to personal and collective flourishing for all Georgians. Resist policies that further discriminate against students, especially those in communities that have been traditionally marginalized by subtractive bilingualism, as well as racist, classist and ableist rules and laws.
- Build upon progress made with college completion grants, and continue to expand comprehensive need-based financial aid in Georgia, reducing racial, ethnic and income disparities. Exploring innovative practices from other states that can help achieve racially equitable need-based financial aid is also imperative.
- Advance equitable funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities, helping reverse decades of disinvestment, and following up on the work of the Senate Study Committee on Excellence, Innovation and Technology at Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
- Defend diversity, equity and inclusion in higher education against attacks that threaten the critical functions of public postsecondary institutions in conveying the truth about Georgia’s history of racism and in supporting welcoming instructional settings.
- Join the rest of the nation by creating and funding an Opportunity Weight that provides additional public money to educate K-12 students living in poverty.
- Shine a light on efforts to divert state dollars away from public schools through voucher programs such as Education Savings Accounts.
- Increase state investment in K-12 pupil transportation, preferably by leveraging the surplus and through formula increases that would adjust to the real costs of transporting students. This investment helps Georgia fulfill its constitutional obligation to provide an “adequate public education” for its people.
Enhance Georgians’ Economic Security
- Enact paid family medical leave for public and private sector workers.
- Incorporate paid leave into the way that schools are funded (through the Quality Basic Education formula) to ensure that public school districts can afford to provide paid leave to bus drivers, teachers and staff.
- Expand eligibility for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program (TANF) and increase the TANF benefit.
- Defend Georgia’s safety net programs (including food assistance and cash assistance) from harmful budget cuts.
- Raise the pay for Division of Family & Children Services workers to ensure pay equity and efficient administration of public benefits.
- Combine investment of state surplus dollars in a child care trust fund with increased state support for the Childcare and Parent Services (CAPS) program to serve more families with low incomes.
- Remove barriers to occupational licensing and high-quality, short-term training opportunities for adults with low incomes seeking meaningful, living-wage jobs.
- Increase the state minimum wage to meet a livable standard of pay and tie it to inflation to help ensure equitable growth over time.
- Modernize the Unemployment Insurance system equitably, centering workers and their needs.
- Reduce and eliminate mandatory cash bail and increase safeguards against unpayable fines and fees to protect Georgians experiencing poverty from being punished or criminalized due to lack of economic resources.
Build Healthy Communities
- Increase access to affordable health care by closing the Medicaid coverage gap without burdensome monthly reporting or qualifying activity requirements.
- Keep young children with lower incomes connected to healthcare and reduce the administrative burden on state agency staff by adopting continuous Medicaid and PeachCare eligibility for children from birth through kindergarten.
- Fully fund the existing Right from the Start Medicaid outreach program to support eligible pregnant women and children (including those who lost coverage during Medicaid unwinding) and to increase enrollment in new Medicaid programs.
- Address continued behavioral health and developmental disability provider staffing shortages and turnover through salary adjustments for critical positions at the Department of Behavioral and Developmental Disabilities and through reimbursement rate increases for home- and community-based care providers.
Empower Immigrant Communities
- Support tuition equity legislation that expands access to higher education for undocumented students in Georgia.
- Advocate for the expansion of access to driver’s licenses for all Georgians, regardless of legal status.
- Expand language access through multilingual communications that reflect the diversity and richness of Georgia’s immigrant communities.