ATLANTA (AP) — A budget signed Monday by Georgia's governor provides for spending through June and increases spending for education and healthcare.
The amended budget for fiscal year 2021 runs through the end of June and increases state spending by $654 million, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
"In a year of tough, unprecedented times, today is certainly a good day," Gov. Brian Kemp said before signing the midyear budget. The spending plan provides $1,000 bonuses to most state employees and gives raises of 10% to prison guards, the newspaper reported.
After last year's legislative session was suspended for about three months because of the coronavirus pandemic, lawmakers were under pressure to pass the midyear budget. Now they can focus on approving the budget for the upcoming year.
Education is seeing the biggest funding increase, which Kemp said "sends a clear message that even in the most challenging times, we are maintaining our commitment to Georgia students, parents, educators and staff."
Among the other expenditures provided for in the budget are 520 new school buses, support for nursing homes hit hard by COVID-19 and high-speed internet for rural areas, the newspaper reported.
It also provides $27 million to allow the Department of Public Health, which has been in the spotlight amid the ongoing pandemic, to improve the computer system used to track immunizations and hire new staffers.