Gov. Brian Kemp says he foresees a “great budget” when the second round of budget discussions end this week.
Just 12 days into the 2020 session under the Gold Dome, lawmakers decided to take a second break — after having discussed at length already in January concerns they had with the governor’s proposed 4% cuts to the budget this year and 6% cuts next year.
“Things the last couple of days have gone great. I’ve gotten really good feedback from legislators about the presentations they’ve gotten,” he told said after speaking at the Capitol earlier in the week, adding he and his team have remained “open and transparent” to working with legislators.
His comments come as Republican lawmakers decided to put a hold on the 2020 session to re-examine the Republican governor’s budget once again. House Speaker David Ralston told members last Wednesday, the day the decision was made, he didn’t think it was a good idea to “speed through spending $28 billion in taxpayer dollars.”
Both Republicans and Democrats, since the start of the session have cited concerns with proposed cuts to healthcare, food inspection, the inspection of rape kits at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, higher education, various criminal justice initiatives and mental health programs.
Though he told GPB News he wasn’t sure what the end result of the work legislators did around the budget would look like, he added he was ready to defend the different parts of the budget he had made his priorities.
Since announcing his $28.1 billion budget, there is one area he has promised to only invest, rather than take away from.
In his state of the state, and in various press conferences, the governor has promised a wage increase for teachers in the K to 12 education system.
When speaking to GPB News, he continued to follow through on his promise.
“Everybody has their priorities. Mine [is] paying teachers more,” Kemp said.
He also stressed, as he has since he began his campaign for governor, he is focusing on growing business not only in metro Atlanta but across the state.
“I think we’re going to have a great budget when we finish,” he stressed again, shortly after reiterating his priorities.