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By State Senator Jack Hill of Reidsville

WHAT DOES A $27 BILLION BUDGET BUY YOU?

Some, for whom complicated things are always very simple, often decry the size of the state budget and note "It was only $20 billion or less just a few years ago." After many years of observing government and actually writing budgets, there are a few truths that I have observed not just of state governments, but of all levels of government that spend taxpayers money.

  1. There is always a perceived need for expansion of government, more positions, more bureaucracy and more land for government functions.
  2. These costs continue to rise and the only way to reduce their growth is some kind of tax cut or payment back to taxpayers periodically or from budget cuts.
  3. Employee benefits, whether better or trailing private industry, will never be perceived as sufficient and there is always pressure to increase them.
  4. One positive of a recession is tighter spending, employees' stability and less pressure on elected officials to increase budgets.

The state as a governmental entity is somewhat different from local governments. The state of Georgia depends on the state Income tax, levied on individuals and businesses, a tax with many exemptions and credits. But, nevertheless, this is a fixed income tax and the state does not control what comes in. The other major source of tax revenue for the state is the state sales and use tax that applies only to certain purchases and again, has a number of exemptions.

Here is a list of the major tax and fee sources that fund state government:

            Individual Income Tax                        52%                 $12.7 Billion

            Sales and Use Tax                               27%                 $6.5 Billion

            Fuel Tax/Fees                                      9%                   $2.1 Billion

            Corporate Income Taxes                     5%                   $1.2 Billion

            Tag & Ad Valorem Taxes                   2%                   $1.0 Billion

            Other                                                   2%                   $844.03 Million

SO, WHAT DOES A $27 BILLION STATE FUNDS BUDGET GIVE THE CITIZENS OF GEORGIA?

                                                                        Percent of State        

                                                                    Funds                 Actual Amount

         Education                                             54%                 $14.9 Billion

         Pre-K                                       1%                  $378.7 Million

                      K-12                                        39%                $10.7 Billion

                     University/Technical College       10%                 $2.8 Billion

                        Student Scholarships                                      

            for Higher Education              4%                  $1.0 Billion

Medicaid & PeachCare                       13%                 $3.6 Billion

Roads & Bridges                                 7%                   $1.9 Billion

Corrections, Supervision, Pardons

And Paroles                                          5%                   $1.4 Billion

Debt Service, Restricted Uses                5%                   $1.37 Billion

Behavioral Health/Disabilities                  4%                   $939.1 Million

Human Services                                     3%                   $830.6 Million

All Other Agencies (Judiciary,

Public Safety, Secretary of

State)                                                     9%                   $2.5 Billion    

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE CAUSES OF INCREASES IN THE BUDGET YEARLY?

  1. Enrollment-From 2010, the low point in the budget for the last 10 years to 2019, here are the increases in enrollment in the various state programs that are funded through formulas:

                                                       Increase in Enrollment

K-12 Education FTE's                                    112,026

Regents FTE's                                                21,728

           

  1. Entitlement enrollment and prison inmates:

2010

2019

Increase

Medicaid Enrollees

1,447,465

1,943,546*

496,081-- Net 385,501

PeachCare Enrollees

202,527

124,181*

-78,346

Inmates

52,291

55,047

2,756

Probationers

154,922

204,370

49,448

*2018 figures.

During that same period, Georgia's population was estimated to increase 831,822.            

EMPLOYEES IN STATE GOVERNMENT

Positions that are filled make up the population of state employees that include those who work in state government, Board of Regents and TCSG staff, employees and faculty and includes K-12 school teachers paid by the state QBE Formula. The chart below shows the number of filled positions in 2010 and the number in 2019.

Agency

2010

2019

Public Safety

1,691

1,870

DHS - Division of Family and Child Services (DFCS)

6,748

6,241

Agriculture

635

519

Natural Resources

2,149

1,762

Public Health Counties

4,809

3,897

DJJ, GDC, DCS

16,407

14,296

Forestry

568

559

General Assembly

476

450

Governor's Office/ Agencies

420

332

Public Defender's Council

738

754

Secretary of State

293

268

Technical College System of GA

5,366

5,699

DOT

4,975

3,954

Regents

42,304

49,721

Court of Appeals

78

109

So, it is readily apparent that state government has not grown much in the number of employees. Keep in mind that the state's population grew by approximately 831,822 people from 2010 to 2018.

I may be reached at

234 State Capitol, Atlanta , GA 30334

(404) 656-5038 (phone)

(404) 657-7094 (fax)

E-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Or Call Toll-Free at

1-800-367-3334 Day or Night

Reidsville office: (912) 557-3811