State Budgets 2012: Georgia



To see more state budget news and information, visit State Budgets 2012

Budget Background:

  • Fiscal Year Begins: July 
  • Frequency of Legislative Cycle: Annual
  • Legislative Session for 2012: Convened January 9, 2012
  • Frequency of Budget Cycle: Annual

Learn more from the National Association of State Budget Officers

Budget News and Information: 2012


Official budget documents, 2012:

5/8/12: Georgia governor signs $19.3 billion state budget

Gov. Nathan Deal on Monday signed a $19.3 billion budget that reflects Georgia's modest revenue gains in a recovering economy and his administration's priorities. The budget includes slightly more money for education and funding to support reforms to the state's criminal justice system.

Georgia's 2013 budget increases state spending by about 4.5 percent — less than $1 billion — over fiscal year 2012. The fiscal year 2013 budget remains 8.6 percent, or $1.8 billion, under the 2009 budget of $21.2 billion, the state's highest budget passed to date.

Read more: Associated Press

4/4/12: Georgians torn over tax on Internet sales

Georgians could soon pay more than $30 million a year in sales taxes when they shop on and other online retailers.

State leaders two weeks ago pushed a tax overhaul through the General Assembly that includes the Internet sales tax for companies that don’t currently collect it.

Even if Gov. Nathan Deal signs the tax bill into law, as expected, it’s unclear whether companies such as Amazon will collect sales taxes in Georgia.

AT A GLANCE (besides taxing Internet purchases)

A unanimous state Senate passed House Bill 386 and just nine of 180 House members voted against it. The tax bill now awaits the signature of Gov. Nathan Deal, who supported it. Key elements of HB 386:

● Increases the personal state income tax exemption for married people filing jointly from $5,400 to $7,400.

● Does away with property taxes on cars bought after March 1, 2013. Instead of the annual ad valorem tax — also known as the “birthday tax” — the legislation calls for a one-time title fee. The fee would start at 6.5 percent in 2013 and rise to 7 percent in 2015.

● Adds sales tax exemptions for energy used by manufacturers, farm machinery and supplies, and airline fuel.

● Restores sales tax holidays for school supplies and energy-efficient appliances.

● Caps nonwork income that seniors can exclude from income taxes at $65,000, or $130,000 per couple.

Read more: Atlanta Journal Constitution

3/28/12: Deal defends tax reform bill

With the 2012 Georgia Legislature ending tomorrow, Governor Nathan Deal today defended the tax reform bill he intends to sign into law. Deal’s comments come one year after a plan broader than this year’s bill never made it out of the legislature.

Read more: Public radio

3/27/12: Georgia General Assembly passes $19.3B 2013 budget

The Georgia General Assembly passed a $19.3 billion state budget for the coming fiscal year Tuesday, taking care of the only duty lawmakers are legally required to fulfill each year.

The Georgia Senate unanimously approved the fiscal 2013 spending plan a few minutes after the Georgia House of Representatives had voted 143-24 to adopt it.

The final version of the budget had emerged from a joint conference committee on Tuesday with an 11th-hour increase of $111 million earmarked for economic development projects.

Read more: Atlanta Business Chronicle

3/22/12: Senate passes Ga. tax break bill; goes to governor

A plan that cuts taxes for Georgia's married couples, slowly repeals the property tax on motor vehicles and gives perks to businesses now awaits Gov. Nathan Deal's signature after the state Senate unanimously approved it Thursday.

The Republican-backed legislation zipped through the General Assembly in the last few days of its annual session with little dissent from Democrats. Republican lawmakers urged their colleagues to support the plan as a way to attract employers in a state with 9.1 percent unemployment. The plan is less sweeping than a tax overhaul abandoned last year and comes at a cost. Budget officials estimate the tax breaks will create a $49 million deficit next year, a gap equivalent to less than 1 percent of the state budget.

Read more: CBS News

3/21/12: Senate passes budget, tinkers with HOPE

Georgia would spend $19.2 billion during the 2013 fiscal year under a budget the Senate unanimously approved Wednesday.

Gov. Nathan Deal and House Republicans have been unwilling to tinker with HOPE this session, so it's unclear whether the loan provision will remain in the final budget.

The House already approved its version of the budget, and now both chambers will negotiate a deal before sending it to Deal.

Read more: Atlanta Journal-Constitution

3/16/12: Governor Signs Revised 2012 Budget

Gov. Nathan Deal has signed into law the amended budget for the remainder of the fiscal year.

The $18.5 billion budget adds only about $200 million to the original budget for the current fiscal year, which ends June 30. Most of the new spending addresses enrollment growth and deficits in Medicaid, which is offset largely by agency cuts. Deal last month reduced the revenue estimate for the current fiscal year by $47 million.

Lawmakers are currently working on the fiscal year 2013 budget, which must be passed before the end of the legislative session, according to the state constitution.

Read more: Associated Press

3/14/12: Legislature passes supplemental $18B budget for fiscal year 2012

The Georgia General Assembly has now approved one of the two bills that it must pass before ending the session -- the amended or "supplemental" budget for fiscal year 2012.

The supplemental budget makes changes to the FY 2012 budget to get the state through the rest of the fiscal year, which ends June 30.

Some of the changes made after the revenue estimate was lowered were simply to push some things into the FY 2013 budget, which is the "big budget" that is still being crafted.

Read more:

3/8/12: Conservative social issues rule Crossover Day

The House passed next year's proposed $19.2 billion state budget plan, which slightly increases spending from what Gov. Nathan Deal recommended earlier this year, though it follows much of his spending blueprint as the state recovers from a recession that prompted years of billion-dollar cuts. “Reductions are still prevalent, but it is clear we are slowly moving out of this recessionary stand,” said House Appropriations Chairman Terry England, R-Auburn.

Read more: Atlanta Journal Constitution

3/7/12: State lawmakers pass $19.2B budget

The Georgia House of Representatives passed the state's $19.2 billion budget as lawmakers race to get legislation moved out of their respective chambers on Crossover Day. 

Read more:

2/29/12: GBI asks for pay parity

Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents say they are among the lowest-paid state law enforcement agents in the country. They say many of the agency's top investigators are leaving for higher paying jobs. And they worry that's making South Georgia streets more dangerous.

The GBI's agents and scientists last pay raise was in 2008, a two per cent cost of living increase. Since then, 28 experienced special agents have left the Bureau. They worry state budget cuts could hurt their crime fighting ability .

Read more: WALB, Channel 10

2/21/12: Budget, metal theft, water top issues as session passes halfway point

As we enter the second half of the session, the annual state budget for fiscal year 2013 is still the No. 1 issue on the agenda. Appropriations subcommittees are presently reviewing various portions of Gov. Nathan Deal’s $19.2 billion proposal in the midst of concerns that we are continuing to deal with economic turbulence in our state as January’s revenue report showed only a 0.7 percent increase.

Read more: NewsTalk AM 810

1/22/12: Georgia's HOPE scholarship funds spread thin

Georgia's new Zell Miller Scholarship, launched last year by Gov. Nathan Deal to provide full tuition to the state's highest-achieving students, is likely to be an even bigger drain on an already strained HOPE as more scholars than expected qualify.

While Deal has promised students will not see their HOPE scholarships diminish next year, his budget plan fails to fully reflect just how much money will be needed going forward because it merges the Zell Miller Scholarship into HOPE-related budget lines. Previously they were budgeted separately.

Read more: Times Free Press

1/17/12: Lawmakers Focus On Budget

State legislators began hearings on the 2013 budget Tuesday. They will hold meetings on the Governor's spending proposal for the rest of the week. Gov. Nathan Deal reiterated that his budget plan calls for modest spending increases.

Gov. Deal’s $19.2 billion budget proposal includes increases in education, corrections and retirement spending.

Read more: Georgia Public Broadcasting

Budget News and Information: Previous Budget Cycles


Official Budget Documents, 2011:

  • GA Office of Planning and Budget: HB 77 Amended FY 2011 Appropriations Bill

April 12, 2011: Georgia lawmakers adopt 2012 budget

The General Assembly adopted an $18.3 billion fiscal 2012 budget Tuesday that increases spending over the current year but still slashes state agencies by an average of 7 percent.

House members passed the budget 143-32 a few hours after a House-Senate conference committee reached agreement on a spending plan with few major changes from the budget requested by Gov. Nathan Deal in January. The Senate followed a couple of hours later, voting 48-6 to send the budget to the governor’s desk for his signature.

Read more: Georgia Business News

March 30, 2011: Senate approves $18.2 billion budget

The Georgia Senate on Wednesday approved an $18.2 billion spending plan that puts more money into going after tax dodgers and borrows from Medicaid to fund health benefits for state employees, retirees and teachers. The Senate voted 47-4 for the budget for fiscal 2012, which begins July 1. The House earlier passed its own budget proposal. The two chambers will now negotiate a compromise plan that must be adopted before the General Assembly session ends in mid-April.

Read more: Atlanta Journal Constitution

3/28/2011: Ga. Senate panel approves budget

The Senate Appropriations Committee has unanimously approved an $18.2 billion budget for the coming fiscal year. Exploding growth in the state's Medicaid rolls and a huge hole in the state health benefit plan contributed to a $180 million gap in health funding. Federal stimulus money is set to dry up, which will mean the loss of about $1 billion in cash from Washington.

Read more:

3/11/11: Ga. House passes FY 2012 budget

The Georgia House approved an $18.3 billion budget Friday that would cut state agency spending across the board to offset tax collections still struggling to recover from the recession. The fiscal 2012 spending plan, which passed 132-33 and now heads to the Senate, reduces agency budgets by an average of 7 percent.

Read more: Atlanta Business Chronicle

3/1/11: House approves HOPE overhaul

The House approved a drastic overhaul of the HOPE scholarship Tuesday -- changes lawmakers say will preserve the award for future recipients while forcing many students and families to find new ways to pay for college.

Read more: Atlanta Journal-Constitution

2/25/11: Lawmakers float potential changes to proposed pre-k cuts

State lawmakers on Friday suggested a way to soften some of the proposed cuts to Georgia's popular pre-kindergarten program. Gov. Nathan Deal's plan to save the pre-k and HOPE scholarship programs calls for cutting the pre-k class day from 6.5 to 4 hours a day. Reps. Jay Neal, R-Lafayette, and Kathy Ashe, D-Atlanta, suggested the state might be able to keep a full-day pre-k program and pay for it by eliminating Deal's proposal to add 5,000 extra slots while increasing the maximum number of students allowed in each class.

Read more: Atlanta Journal-Constitution

1/17/11: Gov. Deal's budget leans on job cuts

Deal’s plan eliminates 14,000 open positions.

Read more: Atlanta Journal-Constitution