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Anderson: 2019 Budget Week at the Capitol
Tonya Anderson
Tonya Anderson, a Democrat from Lithonia, was elected to the Georgia Senate in 2012.

Things have been very busy here at the Capitol as budget hearings began and we kicked off our second week of the 155th Georgia General Assembly. Joint Senate and House budget hearings started with an overall economic outlook which will help us craft this budget without overspending. I was very happy to hear that our economic outlook is positive. Georgia is adding more jobs than the national average and our revenue collections exceeded our expectations once again. 

Gov. Kemp’s $27.5 billion proposed budget allocated $1 million towards Medicaid waivers. Though improving healthcare is a step in the right direction, it is simply not enough. We need to make healthcare available to all Georgians. Across the hall from the senate, democrats in the Georgia House of Representatives requested a fiscal note to analyze potential Medicaid expansion. This note found that investment in Medicaid expansion is the “best investment Georgia can make in healthcare spending.” In 2020, expanding Medicaid is estimated to cost the state about $150 million and by $2022, about $200 million. This would provide half a million Georgians with healthcare and as we have a $27.5 billion budget, I believe we can allocate the funds. Medicaid is a feasible and attainable goal and I encourage its expansion to keep our rural Georgia hospitals afloat and our most vulnerable citizens insured.

In this week’s budget hearings, I was pleased to hear the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) speak about some of their plans with their budget allocations. I cannot stress enough the importance of our Technical Colleges and how successful they are in our community. Here are some numbers to prove that:

  • 99.3 percent job placement rate
  • 26,000 students are dual enrolled with technical colleges
  • Provide more than 400 industry apprenticeships

Another important topic that was discussed was the South DeKalb Campus of Piedmont Technical College. There was some concern that the campus would be moving elsewhere, but we were reassured that that is not the case. Our district needs technical college education to supply an educated and skilled workforce for our industries and I am happy to hear that Piedmont Tech will continue to have a strong presence in DeKalb.

As always, I am honored to serve as your state senator. If there is anything I can do for you at the capitol please let me know. I always enjoy having visitors and would be more than happy to talk to you about what you believe is important. Please do not hesitate to reach out to my office if you ever find yourself under the Gold Dome!

Senator Tonya Anderson represents the 43rd Senate District, which includes portions of DeKalb, Newton and Rockdale counties. She may be reached by email at tonya.anderson@senate.ga.gov.