Another week has passed under the gold dome and it was an eventful and informative one. This week, we took a break from our usual routine to hold joint budget hearings. While I am eager to be back in chamber, the budget is one of the most important steps in making sure our money is efficiently and fairly allocated in our state.
My Senate colleagues and I will be hard at work for the next 36 legislative days to work towards a balanced budget that takes the recommendations of Governor Nathan Deal, the Senate and the House into account.
The budget hearings were held on Tuesday and Wednesday and reviewed by the governor and state agency recommended allocations of the FY 2017 amended and FY 2018 general budgets. Some important issues the governor and agency heads addressed in their proposals included education, healthcare and transportation. Specifically, the governor allotted $160.1 million additional funds to state base salaries for certified personnel, bus drivers and school nurses. This is the first step in improving our schools and ensuring a better tomorrow for Georgia’s youth.
It was also announced that Medicaid and Peach Care for Kids would be receiving millions of dollars in FY 2017 and FY 2018. Taking care of our underprivileged youth has been and will continue to be a top priority for me. As transportation is something that specifically impacts DeKalb, Newton and Rockdale counties, it is encouraging to see $2 billion being allocated to the Georgia Department of Transportation to help improve our roads.
Before the budget passes it will be carefully reviewed, researched and discussed. We all know allocating billions of dollars across the state is a large task, but rest assured that my colleagues and I will fight for a budget that allocates money to those who need it and can benefit from it. Thank you for entrusting me and my colleagues as we continue to work hard making sure the state’s budget needs are being met in a fair and responsible way.
I will continue to work in the coming weeks on issues and in areas that I believe are important for District 43. Your comments, questions and concerns are welcome in my office. I am proud to represent you at the Capitol and hope that you will continue to pray for a successful legislative session.
Senator Tonya Anderson represents the 43rd Senate District, which includes portions of DeKalb, Newton and Rockdale counties. She may be reached by email at email@example.com.