Governor Brian Kemp

Gov. Brian Kemp

Credit: Stephen Fowler / GPB file photo

Gov. Brian Kemp issued four line-item budget vetoes Friday and instructed the General Assembly to ignore the language in 26 other budget line items.

One day after signing the $30.2 billion fiscal 2023 spending plan, the governor axed three technical college projects that were to be financed with bonds, including funds to design a logistics, transportation and manufacturing complex at West Georgia Technical College and an advanced manufacturing center at Columbus Technical College.

In both cases, the projects had been identified as of “lower priority” by the Technical College System of Georgia, Kemp wrote in a memo.

The third vetoed technical college project would have provided $4 million in bonds for land acquisition for a planned technology center at Piedmont Technical College in DeKalb County. That would only have amounted to half of the money needed to buy the land, Kemp wrote.

The governor’s fourth veto would have earmarked $3 million in bonds for improvements to Georgia’s short-line railroads. The money isn’t needed because the state Department of Transportation already has $35 million in prior-year bond authorizations, according to the memo.

Kemp used the same reasoning in instructing lawmakers to disregard another $8 million the General Assembly appropriated for short-line railroad upgrades aimed at reducing truck traffic on highways.

By far the largest budget line item Kemp told the legislature to disregard was a $44.2 million appropriation intended for a new value-based purchasing initiative being undertaken by the Georgia Department of Community Health’s Medicaid program.

Value-based purchasing links health-care provider payments to the provider’s performance.

Kemp explained the initiative isn’t ready to be rolled out during the upcoming fiscal year and instructed the agency to use the funds instead to cover enrollment growth.

In some cases, Kemp issued disregard notices for budgeted items tied to the passage of legislation that failed to get through the General Assembly this year. That included a $1.44 million appropriation that would have funded service-cancelable loans for law enforcement officers interested in pursuing degrees in criminal justice or a related field.

The fiscal 2023 budget takes effect July 1.

This story comes to GPB through a reporting partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.