HB 31 – FY 2020 State Budget Highlights

March 4, 2019

Education:

  • HB 31 includes a $2,775 pay raise for certified teachers and certified personnel, including counselors, social workers, psychologists, special education specialists, speech and language pathologists, media specialists and technology specialists. The pay raise maintains one state salary schedule for certified teachers and certified employees, as stated in Georgia Code. The $2,775 pay raise is reflected in all Department of Education programs where funds for certified teachers and certified employees are earned on the state salary schedule, including $483 million for the Quality Basic Education (QBE) Program and $6 million for programs outside of QBE, including Georgia Network for Educational and Therapeutic Supports (GNETS), Preschool Disabilities Services, Residential Treatment Facilities, and State Schools. HB 31 also includes $2.8 million to provide bus drivers, lunch room workers, and school nurses a 2% pay raise.
  • The House version of HB 31 restores funding for school nurses. Also, $500,000 is appropriated as grants to schools for feminine hygiene products for low-income students under the Non-Quality Basic Education Program.
  • HB 31 includes $818,906 in additional formula funds for pupil transportation based on the formula implemented last year that recognizes student growth. The House version also includes $20 million in the bond package for school bus replacement and $1.71 million to incentivize the purchase of alternative fuel school buses; last year $1.25 million in bonds assisted in the purchase of 156 alternative fuel buses in 17 school systems across the state.
  • In the Technology/Career Education Program there is $110,000 for high school industry certification in construction and $250,000 in bonds for equipment; and $323,000 for life science industry certification in rural school districts through a collaboration with Georgia Youth Science and Technology Centers.
  • Another recommendation of the 2018 House School Security Study Committee highlighted the need for school safety threat assessment trainers to work with local school systems to develop threat assessment plans. The House version includes $174,000 within the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency (GEMA) to hire two trainers.

 

General Government:

  • The FY 2020 budget includes $119 million across all departments to provide for a 2% merit-based salary adjustment for state employees to address recruitment and retention. The budget urges the Employees’ Retirement System to consider a benefit adjustment for retired state employees in accordance with sound actuarial principles.
  • HB 31 contains $527,000 for the Department of Driver Services to provide security at the highest volume customer service centers in Georgia.
  • HB 31 contains $228,859 for three new criminal investigator positions with the Secretary of State to investigate complaints, including election fraud. The budget also includes $150 million in the bond package to replace election voting systems statewide.
  • The FY 2020 budget provides $134,171 to the Environmental Protection Division of the Department of Natural Resources for two environmental compliance specialists who will be tasked with responsibilities for drinking water systems and solid waste landfill inspections.

Health:

  • The FY 2020 budget includes $78.4 million in the Department of Community Health for Medicaid growth as well as an additional $68.3 million to replace federal funds in the Medicaid programs due to a reduction in the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP).
  • The Medicaid budget includes $5.9 million for gene therapy drug coverage; $6.8 million for Medicare Part B premiums; $9.3 million for a revision to the Inpatient Prospective Payment System (IPPS); and $3.2 million to include seven additional long-term acute care hospitals (LTACs) and three additional intermediate rehabilitation facilities (IRFs) as Medicaid providers.
  • To support Georgia’s nursing homes, the House FY 2020 budget funds $10.6 million for a rate enhancement for direct care staff; $330,000 to support enhanced background checks; and $109,342 for a 3% increase in the ventilator reimbursement rate. The House also includes $200,762 in the Department of Community Health to fund a $2.50 increase in the personal needs allowance, which is the second installment of a two-year plan to increase the personal needs allowance by $20 for nursing home residents.
  • The House version of the budget provides $828,042 to fund 54 OB/GYN residency slots, bringing the total number of slots to 104, with 36 slots at Emory University School of Medicine, 20 slots at Medical College of Georgia, 16 slots at Memorial University Medical Center, 16 slots at Morehouse School of Medicine, and 16 slots at Navicent Health Care Macon.
  • HB 31 supports additional residency programs with $890,820 for student capitation rates at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) Georgia and PCOM South Georgia; $352,968 for the Rural Surgery Initiative at Augusta University; and $90,000 for a start-up grant to begin a residency program at South Georgia Medical Center.
  • The House supports Morehouse School of Medicine by providing $5 million to offset a reduction in federal matching funds as well as $500,000 for a Center of Excellence on Maternal Mortality in order to advance maternal health in Georgia.
  • HB 31 includes additional support for maternal health by providing $1.05 million to screen, refer, and treat maternal depression and related behavioral disorders in rural and underserved areas; $200,000 for additional nurse abstractors for the Maternal Mortality Review Committee; and $500,000 for two satellite perinatal support sites in Jenkins and Wilcox counties.
  • Within the Department of Public Health, the House version of the FY 2020 budget includes $150,000 for a nurse peer assistance program to support nurses recovering from substance abuse; $300,000 for regional cancer coalitions to enhance screening, awareness, prevention education, care coordination, and navigation; $150,000 for three additional sickle cell outreach offices; and $500,000 for county health departments to provide feminine hygiene products to low-income clients.
  • HB 31 provides $2.4 million for newborn screening to include four additional disorders that have been approved by the Georgia Newborn Advisory Committee, which are MPS-1, Pompe, X-ALD, and SMA.

Human Resources:

  • The FY 2020 budget includes $4.9 million in the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD) for residential treatment of addictive diseases, which will add six new facilities across the regions in Georgia. The budget recognizes an additional $29 million in behavioral health services to increase bed capacity and outpatient services, as well as annualize the cost of crisis centers.
  • HB 31 provides $9.5 million to meet the funding needs of the Administrative Services Organization (ASO) to increase efficiency and support services delivered by DBHDD. The budget also includes $1.8 6 February 28, 2019 million for an additional eight forensic community coordinators, five forensic evaluators, and one community integration home; $7.9 million is added to annualize and add 125 New Options Waiver (NOW) and Comprehensive Supports Waiver Program (COMP) slots for the intellectually and developmentally disabled; and $1.5 million to annualize supported employment and education services for 500 young adults.
  • The House recommends $500,000 to provide state matching funds for the HomeFirst public-private partnership to provide behavioral health services for permanent homeless supported housing in Fulton County.
  • The FY 2020 budget provides the Department of Human Services $501,796 to meet the demands of the 4.2% growth in adoption services.
  • The House budget includes several additions for some of the most vulnerable Georgians including: $1.4 million to reduce the waitlist for home-delivered meals and serve an additional 665 Georgians and $1.3 million to fund 17 additional adult protective services caseworkers, bringing the total to 172. This addition will lower the caseload to 1:24; national standards are 1:15. Additionally, $1.8 million is provided for 1,000 additional slots for non-Medicaid home and community based services and an increase of $849,951 for 50 additional Medicaid-Aged, Blind and Disabled eligibility caseworkers.
  • With more than 13,000 children in the state’s care, providing adequate resources for children in foster care remains a priority of the House. The budget includes $9.8 million for Out of Home Care to meet the growth in utilization. The House supports the governor’s recommendation of $940,000 for a pilot program to follow-up on closed foster care cases.
  • The House led the way two years ago on providing an increase in the per diem rate for foster care providers; in the FY 2020 budget, the House adds $2.6 million to raise the Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) relative caregiver rate by $1 per day. Furthermore, the budget utilizes $808,210 in existing funds to support retention initiatives for eligible relative and foster caregivers and an increase of $867,058 to replace federal funds to continue child care placement for priority families. The budget also provides $375,000 in the Judicial Council to provide grants for civil legal services for kinship care families.
  • The budget also includes $366,752 for five additional public guardianship caseworkers; an increase of $250,000 to the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) to enhance the statewide capacity of volunteers; and $427,550 for new quality assurance and ongoing monitoring of child welfare support service providers.
  • Within the Department of Veterans Service, the FY 2020 budget provides $128,946 to establish an additional veteran’s field service office in Clayton County. The bond package includes $3.5 million for improvements at the Georgia War Veterans Nursing Homes in Augusta and Milledgeville.

Public Safety:

  • HB 31 provides the Department of Community Supervision with $552,359 for 10 new positions to expand the Georgia Prisoner Reentry Initiative (GA-PRI) to five new locations. The GA-PRI program has reduced reconviction rates by 14% among participants transitioning back into society.
  • Within the Department of Corrections, $14 million is provided for increased dental and mental healthcare; and $3.6 million in new and existing funds is provided for a 10% increase in the daily rate 7 February 28, 2019 for the 22 County Correctional Institutions which partner with the state to house the inmate population.
  • HB 31 appropriates $563,380 to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation for five additional scientists and one lab technician for the chemistry division to address the crime lab backlog. The Fiscal Year 2020 budget provides $780,690 for six positions for the GBI unit at the Cyber Crime Center and $500,000 to implement a GBI Gang Task Force to help local governments prosecute gang activity.
  • House Bill 31 appropriates $195,497 to the Department of Law for support personnel to create a human trafficking team to combat human trafficking in Georgia.

Transportation

  • The FY 2020 budget recognizes an increase of $38.6 million in new revenue for transportation, an increase of more than 7% over the current year budget. The increase includes $32.6 million in the Capital Maintenance Program for additional resurfacing projects and $3.04 million for the Local Maintenance and Improvement Grants (LMIG) Program. The Intermodal Program includes an increase of $221,882 for bridge inspections of state-owned railroad assets and $121,413 for a waterways assistant program manager position to support the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project.