By: Sen. Jason Anavitarte (R – Dallas)
This week marked a week of transition as Governor Brian Kemp gave his State of the State Address and the Majority Caucus outlined our initiatives for the 2023 Legislative Session.
On Wednesday, Governor Brian Kemp delivered his State of the State Address, outlining his legislative and budgetary priorities for the legislative session. The past few years have not come without their set of unique challenges due to the state-wide economic impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
However, despite those trying times, under Governor Kemp’s leadership, Georgia continues to remain a force to be reckoned with. Below I have outlined a few highlights from the Governor’s address:
In his address, Gov. Kemp placed strong emphasis on education, public safety and healthcare in the state of Georgia. The Governor’s proposed budget recommends providing an additional $1.9 billion in funds to fully fund the Quality Basic Education formula, a formula that accounts for a large percentage of the state’s budget. You may remember that when Governor Kemp first ran for office, he made a promise to raise teacher and state employee pay by $5,000. Last year, that pledge was fully delivered.
This year, Governor Kemp intends to maintain these promises by proposing an additional $2,000 be appropriated for another teacher and state employee pay raise. Gov. Kemp also intends to implement certification grants that will help paraprofessionals become teachers. Georgia’s teachers are at the epicenter of Georgia’s workforce.
Without them, we would be unable to provide the highest level of education and resources to young Georgians. In addition, Gov. Kemp’s budget proposal includes appropriating funds for loan repayment programs to support high-demand fields like nursing. The need for more healthcare professionals in unprecedented. Because of this, Gov. Kemp is proposing a $4.5 million increase to fund loan repayment programs to grow the number of healthcare workers in our state. In addition, the Governor is calling for 102 residency slots through an investment of $1.7 million, exceeding the initial goal of this program.
Gov. Kemp wants to continue his swift call to action against crime and violence across the state. He called for harsher sentencing for people who recruit children into gangs and plans to take action against local judges who leniently set bail for criminals wreaking havoc on our streets. Alongside First Lady Marty, Gov. Kemp intends to continue prosecuting sex traffickers and aiding victims of sex crimes.
Perhaps the most significant event of this week occurred on Thursday, when the Senate Majority Caucus held a press conference at the State Capitol to roll out their legislative priorities for the 2023 legislative session.
I had the distinct honor of standing alongside Lt. Governor Burt Jones, President Pro Tempore Sen John F. Kennedy (R – Macon), Senate Majority Leader Sen. Steve Gooch (R – Dahlonega), and my fellow majority caucus colleagues to unveil our plans to continue to improve the lives and livelihoods of all Georgians.
The Majority Caucus highlighted four areas we intend to prioritize. These four areas include bolstering opportunity and innovation in Georgia’s economy, cultivating an educated workforce, and creating safer communities as well as supporting the health and well-being of families and at-risk youth.
Through a prudent income tax reform and tax credit review, we will be able to implement new taxpayer and homeowner relief initiatives. These tax reforms are intended to alleviate financial burdens from hardworking Georgians. To improve the workforce, we’ve prioritized increasing literacy rates across the state will benefit our workforce. Improving literacy will produce success for generations to come. The Majority Caucus is focused and determined to pass legislation that addresses each issue we’ve outlined for the Legislative Session.
While the physical legislation for the Senate Majority Caucus’ legislative priorities has yet to be dropped in the Senate Hopper, we have been working on the ideas behind them for some time. I look forward to working with the majority caucus to continue to perfect of each of these bills and help them advance through the legislative process.
There is still ample time for you to contact your legislators and inform them of the issues that matter most to you, please do not hesitate to reach out. If you have any questions or concerns, I am here to serve you.
Sen. Jason Anavitarte serves as Chair of the Senate Majority Caucus. He represents Senate District 31 which includes Paulding and Polk Counties. He can be reached at 404.656.0085 or at Jason.email@example.com