The Georgia Budget and Policy Institute works to build a more inclusive economy so that everyone can participate and thrive. We believe Georgia can be a state where everyone has a chance at a decent job so they can raise a family, can go to a doctor when they get sick and attend great public schools. Our goal is to shine a light on policies that help all Georgians share in the state’s prosperity.

Below are the policy priorities we have developed and will track during the 2019 legislative session. These priorities echo the strategies found in People-Powered Prosperity that aim to help all Georgians thrive.

For more insights throughout session, be sure to follow @GaBudget on Twitter and sign up for our newsletter.

Our experts analyzed Gov. Kemp’s 2020 budget proposal and provided overviews to break down the numbers. Read the overviews by clicking below.

Our Priorities:

Monitor state budget negotiations, analyze the details to ensure the result is sound and fair and report findings to lawmakers and the public throughout the process.

Encourage an informed debate to advance fiscally responsible tax reform proposals that allow working families to keep a greater percentage of their earnings, strengthen state revenue, and protect existing revenue streams. These priorities include:

  • Cutting taxes on low- and middle-income families by creating a Georgia Work Credit, aligned to complement the federal Earned Income Tax Credit.
  • Restructuring state tobacco taxes and fees to match the national average.
  • Increasing transparency and accountability in state tax credit programs and expenditures.
  • Defeating regressive proposals that would negatively alter the income tax structure, erode the tax base, and/or shift the cost of funding government services further onto working families.

Expand access to affordable, quality early care through:

  • Additional funding for the Child and Parent Services (CAPS) program to increase the availability of child care subsidies for low-income working parents.

Support resources, innovations and investments to improve public education by:

  • Continuing full Quality Basic Education (QBE) funding including restoring transportation funds.
  • Supporting efforts to drive equity in school funding such as increasing money for schools that serve higher percentages of low-income students, tracking spending at the local school level, rethinking early and remediation funding and reestablishing equalization grants to 75%.
  • Monitoring and evaluating proposed changes in education funding.
  • Shining a light on efforts to divert dollars away from public schools through voucher programs such as Education-Savings Accounts.
  • Supporting efforts to bring transparency and a return on investment analyses on the state’s educational tax credit voucher programs.
  • Monitoring efforts to change the structure and use of E-SPLOST funds.

Expand access to quality, affordable health care by:

  • Expanding the Medicaid program and closing Georgia’s coverage gap through a straightforward expansion or a waiver.
  • Increasing reimbursement rates and the provider fee to strengthen the Medicaid program.
  • Removing barriers to Medicaid enrollment and ensuring access to a comprehensive range of services.
  • Increasing state investment in substance abuse and mental health services.
  • Extending scope of practice.
  • Strengthening provider capacity.

Build a strong, prosperous workforce and make earning a college degree more accessible and affordable by:

  • Eliminating the 7-year time limit on HOPE.
  • Funding Georgia’s new need-based aid program.
  • Using unrestricted lottery reserve funds for education.
  • Increasing the percentage of lottery proceeds used for education.
  • Adding funds for advisors, IT enhancements and other student services related to the university system’s Momentum Year initiative.

Protect the safety net to ensure any Georgian who falls on hard times can get a hand up by:

  • Rejecting efforts to extend burdensome work reporting requirements for SNAP or Medicaid.
  • Addressing the cliff effect faced by many low-income families working their way into the middle class.
  • Appropriating state funds to support the expansion of the effective SNAP employment and training programs across the state.

Inform the debate around proposed measures aimed to restrict the ability of immigrants and refugees to prosper and thrive by:

  • Rejecting efforts to limit or brand driver’s licenses of DACA recipients.
  • Supporting efforts that would enable DACA recipients to pay in-state tuition rates.
  • Supporting efforts to end the outright ban on undocumented students’ ability to be admitted to some Georgia colleges and universities.
  • Rejecting efforts to mandate local governments comply with voluntary federal immigration enforcement programs such as 287(g).

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