The Georgia Budget and Policy Institute’s goal is to shine a light on people-first policies that help all Georgians share in the state’s prosperity. These are the policy priorities GBPI will track during 2020. Many are part of our People-Powered Prosperity campaign. For more insights throughout session, be sure to follow @GaBudget on Twitter and sign up for our newsletter.
Advancing Prosperity Through Fiscal Responsibility
Analyze state budget negotiations to ensure the result is sound and fair and to protect against budget cuts that affect critical services and programs like public safety and education.
Advance fiscally responsible tax reform proposals that strengthen state revenue, protect existing revenue streams and support working families. These priorities include:
- Improving Georgia’s tax code to ensure that, on average, low- and middle-income Georgians do not pay a greater percentage of their income in state and local taxes than higher-income households.
- Defeating regressive proposals that would erode the tax base and/or shift the cost of funding government services further onto working families.
- Passing a state-level Earned Income Tax Credit, the Georgia Work Credit.
- Maximizing the value of existing tax credits that help families, such as the state child tax credit, by making these credits fully refundable.
- Updating state tobacco taxes and fees to match the national average.
- Increasing accountability in state tax credit programs and expenditures.
Supporting Thriving Families
Expand access to affordable, quality early child care through increasing state funding for the Child and Parent Services (CAPS) program to increase the availability of child care subsidies for low-income working parents.
Protect the safety net so families and individuals with little or no income can get support by:
- Increasing the investment and technical assistance for the Gateway system to streamline reporting requirements and improve the user experience.
- Rejecting efforts to institute work reporting requirements.
- Addressing the cliff effect, or abrupt loss of assistance, faced by many families working their way into the middle class.
- Improving SNAP’s effectiveness by expanding SNAP workforce development programs across the state and raising SNAP’s income limit.
- Maximizing TANF’s effects in Georgia by leveraging the state’s unobligated TANF reserves to fund work assistance, increasing benefit levels and eliminating the family cap policy.
- Increasing state general funds for child welfare to repurpose TANF funds for their core purpose, providing cash assistance to more low-income families.
Raising Educated Youth
Support resources, innovations and investments to improve public education, including:
- Continuing full funding of QBE and restoring transportation funding.
- Supporting opportunities to improve equity in school funding, such as creating an Opportunity Weight to increase funds for schools that serve many students in poverty, restoring sparsity grants and reestablishing equalization grants to 75 percent.
- Defeating efforts to divert dollars away from public schools through voucher programs such as Educational Savings Accounts.
Building Healthy Communities
Expand access to quality, affordable health care by:
- Fully expanding the Medicaid program and closing Georgia’s coverage gap.
- Strengthening existing Medicaid programs by extending the time mothers can retain Medicaid coverage postpartum from six weeks to 12 months, increasing reimbursement rates and the provider fee and removing barriers to Medicaid enrollment.
- Protecting state investment in substance abuse and mental health services.
Developing a Strong Workforce
Build a strong, prosperous workforce, make a college degree more accessible and affordable and expand access to quality jobs by:
- Funding Georgia’s new need-based aid program.
- Supporting access to Dual Enrollment by providing adequate state funding.
- Using unrestricted lottery reserve funds for education and increasing the percentage of lottery proceeds used for education.
- Lowering employment barriers by increasing access to criminal record expungement.
Empowering Culturally Diverse Communities
Encourage measures that empower immigrants and refugees while rejecting efforts to restrict their ability to prosper and thrive. This will involve:
- Supporting efforts to allow undocumented students to pay in-state tuition and end the ban on undocumented students’ attendance at some Georgia colleges and universities.
- Supporting K-12 investments for ESOL students.
- Rejecting efforts to discriminate against immigrant communities, such as mandates that local governments comply with voluntary federal immigration enforcement programs such as 287(g).
- Expanding immigrant access to driving privileges and rejecting efforts to brand or limit immigrant driver’s licenses.
- Removing the 5-year waiting period for Legal Permanent Residents to access Medicaid and PeachCare and rejecting further measures to restrict immigrant health coverage.
- Supporting entrepreneurship and efforts to expand immigrant economic opportunity.