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Notes from the Senate
Saturday, 30 January 2010

January 30--  Senator Jack Hill of Reidsville reports on the state's education budget and new bills introduced in the state senate this week in his "Notes from the Senate."

Governor Perdue’s FY2011 General Budget Recommendations 

The FY11 General budget is based on the State General Fund and Motor Fuel Revenues equal to $16.8 billion.  The FY11 General revenue estimate is 8.1% above the FY10 Amended budget and includes nearly $1.26B in growth and new revenues.  $345M is generated with a 1.6% Care Management Organization and Hospital provider fee, $287M would be gained by the securitization of GEFA loans for local water infrastructure investments, and the remaining $624M would come from the 4% projected growth in revenues over FY10.  The FY11 revenue estimate is a 16.52% decline, equal to a $3.3B shortfall, from the original FY09 General budget of $20.1B.


K-12 Education

·        Increases funds for enrollment growth and teacher training at $121.1M (0.67% enrollment growth.

·        Increases funds for 700 new school buses with a $50M bond (this would replace the $24.7M cut from pupil transportation)

·        Reduces the QBE formula by $527M and increases the TRS employer contribution from 9.74% to 10.28% at a cost of $43M

·        Reduces $70.5 M in ARRA, The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, for a net cut of 7% (when adjusting the Local Five Mill Share)

·        Reduces funds for the School Nutrition Program by $9.7M (25% cut), partially offset by $4.4M in ARRA funds

·        Reduces the School Nurses Program by $1.6M (5.5% cut)

·        Reduces funds for Technology and Career Education by $1.6M (10% cut) and changes the Equalization grant formula to reduce the state’s obligation by 3 mills

·        Recommends $118M in bonds for construction and maintenance projects which is $34.8M less than the DOE requested

·        Eliminates funding for the Georgia Youth Science and Technology Fund ($250,000), Educational Technology Centers ($3.6M), Regional Educational Service Agencies ($12.1M), the National Science Center and Foundation ($500,000), and the National Certified Teacher’s Fund ($7.2M)


Higher Education

·        Funds formula growth for Regents ($113.2M) and the Technical College formula ($27.5M)

·        Replaces $3.9M in state funds with lottery funds for the HERO Scholarship ($800,000), the Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership Program (LEAP) ($967,000), North Georgia Military Scholarship Grants ($1.5M) and the North Georgia ROTC Grants ($652,000)

·        In Lottery funds, increases the HOPE GED by $217,000, the HOPE Grant by $75.9M, Private School HOPE Scholarships by $35.6M, and Public School Scholarships by $84.5M

·        Reduces funds for Resident Instruction (Teaching program) by $223.8M and adds $47.6M in ARRA

·        Eliminates the seed capital fund in the Advanced Technology Development Commission ($2.5M) and the Medical College of Georgia’s 5 year funding commitment for cancer-related research ($5M Tobacco)

·        Eliminates the Food Industry Program ($1.5M), Traditional Industries Program ($1.6M), Vaccine Collaboration Grants ($1.6M), and the Bio-Refinery ($200,000)

·        Eliminates the Engineer Scholarship ($710,000), the Guaranteed Educational Loans Program (3.2M), the Promise Scholarship ($5.9M), the Teacher Scholarship ($5.3M), and the Tuition Equalization Grants while increasing the Private College HOPE Grant

·        Recommends $121M in bonds for Regents, nearly $250M less than requested

·        Recommends $44.2M in bonds for the Technical College System of Georgia, roughly $85.1M less than requested


Next week’s column will include a summary of Governor Perdue’s FY2011 General budget proposals for Health and Human Services, Department of Corrections, Transportation, and Economic Development.


Senate Action This Week:

Bills of interest that have recently been introduced in the Senate:

·        SB 317:  Would prohibit any law or rule from compelling any person, employer, or health care provider to participate in any health care system.

·        SB 318:  Would require an affidavit to accompany a complaint against law enforcement officials.

·        SB 320:  Would provide for and enact a bill of rights for Georgia teachers.

·        SB 323:  Would require all final DOT contracts with private funding sources to designate 30% of the contract’s total value to local contractors and small businesses. 

·        SB 328:  Requires electric suppliers to provide cable companies nondiscriminatory access to electrical facilities.

·        SB 330 & SB 331:  Prohibits health insurance companies from unjustly canceling health insurance based upon an error or omission.  Would allow families to continue covering their dependent children on their health insurance plans through age 25 regardless of whether they are full-time enrolled students.  Would eliminate the health insurance practice of placing annual and lifetime caps on the coverage of their insured policy holders.  These provisions would also allow small businesses to pool together through association health plans.    


SB 306 Passes the Senate

Would prohibit the wearing of any device, except hands-free communication devices, which impairs an individual’s hearing or vision while operating a vehicle.




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