Governor Nathan Deal Signs $19.2 Billion Budget

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Atlanta, GA (AP) - Gov. Nathan Deal has signed a $19.2 billion budget that reflects his administration's priorities and Georgia's modest revenue gains in the recovering economy, with slightly increased funding for education and monies to support newly-enacted reforms to the state's criminal justice system.

Georgia's 2013 budget, effective July 1, grows state spending by less than $1 billion over fiscal year 2012. The bulk of the spending will be on education and health-related programs.

The budget also includes $35.2 million to pay for more than 2,600 additional beds in two private prisons, $10 million in grants to fund county drug and mental health courts, $46.7 million in bonds for the Savannah port deepening project, $10 million to fund rural economic development and $5.7 million to fund a database to track tax cheats.