January 14, 2021

The Ga. General Assembly convened on Monday, January 11, to begin the 2021 legislative session and met for four days this week.

Governor Brian Kemp delivered his 2021 State of the State address to socially distanced General Assembly members this morning. (You can follow the link to watch the State of the State on the GPB site.)

As one might expect, much of his speech focused on the COVID crisis and the state’s response to it.  Governor Kemp spoke of all of the challenges the state has faced and persevered, and he observed a moment of silence for the Georgians who have died from COVID.  He talked about the state’s COVID battle and he noted the heroic efforts of the Ga. National Guard, the healthcare providers, and Dr. Kathleen Toomey.

Governor Kemp emphasized that, for the 8th straight year, Georgia was again the Number 1 State for Business.  He affirmed the work of the Ga. Dept. of Economic Development and highlighted the Department’s success in adding 16,000 new jobs and $6B in new investment since the beginning of the 2021 fiscal year.  He also noted that the state’s unemployment rate of 5.7% is below the national average.

He spoke of the solid financial shape that the state is in and that they had maintained a AAA bond rating.

He said there will be NO budget cuts, NO state employee layoffs or furloughs, and NO new taxes.

Gov. Kemp touted his PPE tax credit legislation from last session and said he’d like to expand on that to cover pharmaceutical and medical equipment manufacturers.

Some specific items that he mentioned in his budget include $1,000 one-time bonuses for teachers and school staffers, $40M for a Rural Innovation Fund, Rural Broadband Grants ($20M in amended FY ’21 and $10M in FY ’22), $76M to implement his Ga. Pathways and Access program to help patients with access to healthcare, and $329M to fund projected costs for Medicaid and PeachCare.  The amended FY ’21 and FY ’22 budgets will be on the House Budget Office website.

The legislature will be in recess next week.  The House and Senate Appropriations Committees will be holding joint meetings Jan. 19-21.  The hearings and can be viewed online (https://www.legis.ga.gov/house).

The House and Senate will both reconvene at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, January 26.



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