The Georgia Senate is expected this week to back a record state budget for the upcoming fiscal year that includes pay raises for 200,000 teachers and state employees and more than $1 billion worth of new construction projects.
The plan also includes $485,000 so Senate committee meetings can be streamed over the internet. Currently House meetings are streamed, but the Senate has in the past resisted streaming its meetings.
The Senate’s $25 billion spending plan for fiscal 2018, which begins July 1, follows much of what Gov. Nathan Deal proposed, and the House has already approved. Senate Appropriations Chairman Jack Hill, R-Reidsville, presented the Senate proposal in the chamber’s budget committee Monday.
Passage in the Senate will set up final negotiations with the House. The General Assembly must approve the budget for fiscal 2018 before the session ends March 30.
It would provide 2 percent pay raises for teachers and most state employees, and a 19 percent raise for child protection workers.
The spending proposal includes more than $1.15 billion in new borrowing. High on the list is $105 million to build a new state courts building on the site of the former archives building in Atlanta, which was brought down earlier this month.
The bond package also includes $73 million more to complete a new technical college campus in Deal’s home county of Hall.
Deal had added $10 million to the budget in 2015 to buy the land and $48.3 million last year to get the construction started. Combined, if given final approval as expected, the state will have borrowed more than $130 million to move Lanier Technical College from one end of the county to the other and create a new campus.