Georgia governor approves nearly $26 billion state budget

Gov. Brian Kemp signs Georgias 2021 budget on June 30, 2020. (FOX 5)

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp has signed the nearly $26 billion state budget passed on the final day of the delayed 2020 General Assembly on Friday. The budget avoids unpaid employee furloughs and layoffs but does involve deep cuts to programs.

The governor signed House Bill 793 just a day before the 2021 budget goes into effect during a ceremony at the Gold Dome. Kemp reminded Georgians that the state is not out of the woods yet when it comes to the coronavirus pandemic or further economic impact as a result of it.

The budget also restores funding to the Behavioral Health Services and the state’s accountability courts. Both programs have helped to keep incarcerations down within the state.

Universities and K-12 schools will have to set their own budgets now that they know how much they’re getting from the state.

The cuts are deep but had once been projected to be as high as 14%. Kemp let lawmakers spend $250 million out of the state’s savings account and increased projected tobacco tax revenue by $50 million. That and an improving economic outlook led to smaller reductions.

The Associated Press contributed to this report