By: Sen. Larry Walker III (R–Perry)
Budget week, as it is coined under the Gold Dome, is a tremendous opportunity for legislators to dialogue with these leaders and learn how their needs correlate with the needs of hardworking Georgians. During our second week of the 2024 Legislative Session, I welcomed the opportunity to listen to budget presentations from various state agencies. I would like to first thank Budget Chairmen Sen. Blake Tillery (R–Vidalia) and Rep. Matt Hatchett (R–Dublin) for their continued discernment as Chairmen of the Senate and House Committees on Appropriations. I would also like to thank each agency head for their hard work year-round and their willingness to answer our questions this week. Passing a balanced state budget is the sole constitutional obligation of the Georgia General Assembly each session, and I appreciate the hard work of committee members from both sides of the aisle throughout this process.
When I began to read through this year’s budget, I couldn’t help but be proud of our state’s commitment to spending wisely. We didn’t count our chickens before they hatched, and we are now getting to reap the benefits of fiscal conservatism. We are currently sitting on a $16 billion surplus, which has provided us with a solid financial foundation. The proposed Fiscal Year (FY) 2025 budget aims to reward hardworking Georgians with tax rebates and reductions while also providing a four percent cost-of-living adjustment for state employees and our educators. Georgia is celebrating 27 consecutive years of a AAA bond rating, which is the highest attainable credit rating for a state government.
These are not the only investments that I look forward to celebrating, however. I’m greatly appreciative to Gov. Brian P. Kemp for his allocation of $21.54 million for a new goat, sheep and swine barn at the Georgia National Fairgrounds. I’m grateful for investments such as the $250 million proposed to support water and wastewater infrastructure development via low-interest loans. These loans encourage county governments to build toward a brighter tomorrow and provide Georgia with additional leverage when persuading businesses to set up shop in the Peach State. Lastly, I am energized by Gov. Kemp’s tough-on-crime proposals, including over $807 thousand in funding to expand the Gang Prosecution Unit to all corners of our state.
As we look to our third week of the 2024 legislative session, I assure you that I am keeping the interests of Georgia’s citizens and the 20th Senate district at the forefront of my mind. There is still much work to do, and I appreciate any feedback you might have concerning current or future legislation. Please do not hesitate to reach out to my office if you have any questions or concerns regarding legislative matters.
Sen. Larry Walker serves as Chairman of the Insurance and Labor Committee. He represents the 20th Senate District, which includes Bleckley, Dodge, Dooly, Laurens, Treutien, Pulaski, and Wilcox counties as well as portions of Houston County. He may be reached by phone at 404.656.0095 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.