June 22, 2020

Legislative Session
Day 36
Report Snapshot

Governor Kemp Shaves Proposed K-12 Funding Cuts

Senate Retirement Passes University System TRS Bill

House Passes TRS Alternative Investment Bill
Upcoming Schedule

Tuesday, June 23 – Legislative Day 37

Wednesday, June 24 – Legislative Day 38

Thursday, June 25 – Legislative Day 39

Friday, June 26 – Legislative Day 40 (Sine Die )
Governor Kemp Shaves Proposed K-12 Funding Cuts

Highlights:

  • Gov. Brian Kemp expects smaller decline in state revenue for Fiscal Year 2021 (FY 2021)

  • Anticipated K-12 funding cut shrinks by $53 million

On Monday, Gov. Kemp announced that the state’s revenue for FY 2021 will fall by $2.2 billion, a smaller amount than the $2.6 billion previously predicted. Under the new revenue estimate, the proposed cut to the Quality Basic Education (QBE) formula for public schools will fall by $53 million according to media reports . This shrinks the QBE cut to about $992 million for the upcoming school year. Gov. Kemp also proposes using $250 million from the state’s rainy day fund to limit some of the expected cuts to state agencies.
A conference committee comprised of six members of the House and Senate is currently reviewing the FY 2021 state budget passed by the Senate last week. The Senate’s budget is based on the earlier estimate of a $2.6 billion decline. The committee will revise the proposed budget. Each chamber of the General Assembly will review and vote on the budget later this week.

More information about the Senate’s proposed FY 2021 budget is available from PAGE HERE and HERE .

-Margaret Ciccarelli
Senate Retirement Passes University System TRS Bill

Highlights:

  • HB 292 resulted from 2019 state audit

  • Legislation would end USG’s statutory obligation to TRS

The Senate Retirement Committee met this morning and quickly passed HB 292 , sponsored by the House Retirement Committee Chair, Rep. Tommy Benton (R-Jefferson). The bill would remove a statutory requirement that the University System of Georgia (USG) make payment to the Teachers Retirement System (TRS) for participants in USG’s Optional Retirement Plan (ORP), which was created in 1990. A 2019 state audit indicated USG failed to pay TRS approximately $600 million. The payments, which ended at the recommendation of a TRS actuary in 2001, were intended to prevent retiree pension costs from being borne by the state or local school districts.

For more, check out the PAGE Capitol Report from Day 6 of the legislative session and the AJC’S report from February .

-Margaret Ciccarelli
House Passes TRS Alternative Investment Bill

Highlights:

  • Bill allows TRS to allocate up to five percent of funds in alternative investment

By a vote of 104-55, the House passed SB 294 by Sen. Ellis Black (R-Valdosta), the Senate Retirement Committee Chair. The legislation allows TRS to invest up to five percent of pension funds in alternative investments. When the bill moved through the House Retirement Committee, Black reported that other Georgia public retirement systems have had the ability to invest up to five percent of their funds in alternative investments for several years. Returns from those alternatives have been higher than returns from equities and bonds, TRS's current investments.

More details about SB 294, including PAGE testimony on the bill are available in PAGE’S Day 31 Capitol Report.

-Margaret Ciccarelli

Claire Suggs
Senior Education Policy Analyst
csuggs@pageinc.org
Josh Stephens
Legislative Affairs Specialist
jstephens@pageinc.org
Margaret Ciccarelli
Director of Legislative Services
mciccarelli@pageinc.org