Kemp touts teacher raises, housing plans in 2023 State of the State Address

In his 2023 State of the State Address in front of the General Assembly, Gov. Brian Kemp outlined his plans to "set Georgia on a path of greatness" with teacher pay raises, economic incentives, and scholarship opportunities.

The governor, who won reelection after defeating his Democratic challenger Stacey Abrams in a rematch of their previous gubernatorial election, shared a vision for set on the foundation of his actions in his first term - pushing for pay raises for teachers and highlighting the state's growth in manufacturing fields.

"I believe this session will be one of consequence," Kemp said.

Kemp pledged a low-drama conservative agenda, calling for $2,000 pay raises for all state and university employees and public school teachers and more job growth focused on manufacturing electric vehicles.

"In total, we will have given hardworking educators a $7,000 pay raise in just five years. No other General Assembly or governor will have raised teacher pay by so much, so quickly, in state history," Kemp said. "With the passage of this budget, the average teacher salary in Georgia will also now be over $7,000 higher than the Southeast regional average."

The governor also touted a plan to fulfill past Georgia Gov. Zell Miller's vision and return the HOPE Scholarship and Grant to 100% tuition in public colleges

Kemp also highlighted the need in the state for affordable housing, saying that "as hardworking Georgians find opportunity and the quality housing that comes with it, they also deserve to live, work, and worship in safety."

The governor's plan would create the Rural Workforce Housing Fund, which would allow the state to work with local governments to develop sites for workforce housing.

During his election campaign, Kemp promised to give another $1 billion of income tax refunds and to give a $1.1 billion property tax rebate. Kemp plans to use Georgia’s $6.6 billion in surplus cash to pay for those givebacks, as well as refill the state’s road-building coffers after suspending gas tax collections for 10 months.

Citing a wave of planned factories spearheaded by two giant electric vehicle assembly plants and two big battery plants, Kemp has previously said he wants to build on the $23 billion in announced projects to make Georgia the center of electrified transportation.

"In less than 365 days, we announced four of the largest economic development projects in state history. Just those four projects alone will bring over 20,000 new jobs and over $17 billion in investment to rural communities across Georgia," Kemp said.

You can find the full text of the State of the State below:

The Associated Press contributed to this report.