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Here’s how the newly passed state budget affects South Georgia

State legislators are shelling out big money in areas affected by the pandemic in its recently...
State legislators are shelling out big money in areas affected by the pandemic in its recently passed budget.(WALB)
Published: Apr. 14, 2021 at 6:33 PM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - State legislators are shelling out big money in areas affected by the pandemic in its recently passed budget.

Lawmakers spent about $27 billion total.

At $10 billion, K-12 education is the largest single expenditure in the fiscal year 2022 state budget.

“We came in and we restored many of the cuts that were made in the previous year’s budget. Due to the COVID crisis and reduction of said revenue, we had to take almost a billion dollars out of K-12 revenue, it was $950 million to be exact. But in this budget, we were able to restore about $567 million back into the budget,” said State Rep. Winfred Dukes.

About 96% of K-12 funding is now restored.

It’s clear that the pandemic had a major impact on lawmakers’ decisions. Almost all of the budget went toward health care and education services.

But, another big ticket item that will impact South Georgia affects both, and that’s broadband internet.

“In rural Georgia, we were having quite a few issues with connectivity. In this budget, we were able to add $10 million just for rural broadband,” said Dukes.

That’s after already adding more toward these services last year. Strong connectivity is needed for virtual schooling and telehealth.

“In our previous budget, the amended budget of this year, we placed an additional $20 million for broadband for rural Georgia,” he said. “This will make the commitment that the Georgia legislature has made to connectivity in rural Georgia for this year, $30 million.”

That funding will go to OneGeorgia Authority to create a grant program.

Even though a lot of funding was restored in this budget from last year, it still cut about 4% of general funding from 2020, according to the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute.

The budget goes into effect this summer.

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