Under a bill passed last week, state lawmakers won’t be able to divert hazardous and solid waste trust fund fees to other parts of the budget. The measure caused a last-minute battle between legislators in the waning moments of the legislative session, but backers say Georgians will now be getting what they paid for.
The amended 2013 budget cleared the state Senate Friday and is now headed for a conference committee to resolve discrepancies with the House version. Lawmakers make changes to the budget each year to reflect changes in school enrollment and other items.
The state House passed an amended budget Friday for the current fiscal year. It reconciles projections from last year with the economic realities of today. State officials had to lower the budget’s revenue estimate because the economy hasn’t recovered as quickly as they had predicted.
Georgia judges said the state doesn't invest enough money to make its judicial system operate effectively and efficiently. During budget hearings Justice Hugh Thompson of the Georgia Supreme Court said courts are struggling to keep up with their dockets.
Gov. Nathan Deal’s 2014 budget includes small investments in areas he’s targeted, including accountability courts and juvenile justice. Speaking Tuesday at budget hearings at the state Capitol, he told lawmakers Georgia’s continued slow economic recovery nixes any ambitious plans.
Georgia would keep spending relatively flat under a $19.9 billion budget plan from Gov. Nathan Deal that tries some trims to health care spending while including limited infrastructure and education spending. That figure does not include billions in federal spending. The Republican governor is making a combination of spending cuts to close a funding shortfall in the Medicaid health care program for the poor.