Kemp announced the same bonuses for Georgia’s public school teachers last month.
Both bonuses are being paid — directly or indirectly — from federal COVID-19 relief funds.
The largest spending increase would be in education, where the House and Senate went along with Kemp’s proposal to backfill 60% of the spending reductions that lawmakers approved last year, when they cut 10% because of fears that state revenue would plummet due to the pandemic.
That didn’t happen. In fact, state tax collections have increased 6.3% during the first seven months of this fiscal year.
Kemp said the increased school spending “sends a clear message that even in the most challenging times, we are maintaining our commitment to Georgia students, parents, educators and staff.”
The budget will also pay for 520 new school buses, increase support for nursing homes hit hard by COVID-19 and add high-speed internet in rural areas.
It will spend $27 million to quickly modernize the Department of Public Health’s computer system that tracks immunizations and pay to hire several new staffers at the agency that has spent most of the past year fighting COVID-19.