Georgia lawmakers will be looking at a record $25 billion budget when they hold joint budget hearings Tuesday and Wednesday.
The budget for fiscal year 2018 includes pay raises for state employees, money for autism treatment services for children under Medicaid, and resources for various construction projects.
The budget is based on a projected revenue growth of 3.6 percent over the amended 2017 budget, the governor’s office said.
“That’s some nice growth as compared to previous years so they do have a little bit of room to work her,” said Carolyn Bourdeaux, director of the Center State and Local Finance at Georgia State University.
Under the plan, state teachers would get a 2 percent pay raise along with other employees. Caseworkers with the Division for Family and Children Services would get a pay raise of about 19 percent on average, and state law enforcement officers would see a 20 percent pay bump.
Bourdeaux said, still, the state is catching up on salary increases from the recession.
“From 2008 all the way through about fiscal year 2016, there was almost nothing so that has created many years of lag,” she said.
She said per-capita spending levels are also lower than before the recession.
According to the Governor's Office of Budget and Planning, 83 percent of the budget still goes to mandatory spending that comes with population growth for healthcare and other services, leaving only about 17 percent for discretionary funding.
The amended fiscal year 2017 budget includes various one-time spending projects, like $50 million for a new cybersecurity training center in Augusta, as well as money for state departments to replace vehicles.