Gold Dome Update 
Highlights from the House 
Budget Week
Tuesday, January 16, marked the beginning of what we refer to as, “budget week.” The only thing that we are constitutionally required to do during our 40-day session is pass a balanced budget. While balancing, a budget seems simple enough, when dealing with billions of dollars, it can be quite challenging. House and Senate Appropriations Committees held a series of joint budget hearings throughout the week, which gave us the chance to closely examine Governor Deal’s recommendations. We also heard testimony from various state agencies in need of funding. As our state’s fiscal year begins July 1, we are in the first stages of crafting two budget bills: The full 2019 Fiscal Year budget and the 2018 Amended Fiscal Year budget. 

2018 Fiscal Year- Spending Changes

The 2018 budget will be amended to reflect a more accurate estimate of state revenue and accounts for any discrepancies between the projected estimate that was passed last year and actual revenue obtained. Governor Deal began the week by presenting his recommendations to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees. Highlighted below are a few spending increases Governor Deal is proposing for the 2018 amended budget, which will end June 30 of this year: 

  • $102 million in the midterm adjustment to fund k-12 enrollment growth
  • $10.7 million for growth in the Dual Enrollment program
  • $43.6 million for the Indigent Care Trust Fund and Medicaid
  • $25 million to expand runways at 11 airports in Georgia, including rural communities
  • $10 million addition to attract jobs and tourism across the state
  • $32.5 million to Safe Georgia initiatives

2019 Full Fiscal Year Budget

As Georgia’s population continues to grow, so does the need for improved infrastructure. In his State of the State Address last week, the governor announced that the 2019 fiscal year budget proposal is an estimated $26 billion. The governor listed his funding recommendations, and as expected, education remains a top priority for 2019, receiving approximately 54% of the state’s overall budget. Healthcare, public safety and transportation round out the top four spends as they collectively make up 37% of remaining recommended allocations. Below is a highlight of Governor Deal’s 2019 FY budget proposals:

  • $400 million allocated to “Grow Georgia” efforts, which includes the Departments of Agriculture, Community Affairs, Economic Development and Natural Resources.
  • $1.9 billion to Transportation improvements and infrastructure
  •  $13.9 billion to Education systems- Pre-K through Higher Ed
  • $361.7 million for the Teachers Retirement System
  • $2 billion towards Public Safety and law enforcement initiatives
  • $5.6 billion allocated to Healthcare initiatives, which includes $23 million towards the Veterans Service Department

What’s Next?
Although budget week has technically come to an end, our work is far from over. House Appropriation subcommittees will further study budget proposals, eventually passing portions of the suggested budget out of their respective committees. Following this process, those individually passed budgets will then go before the full House Appropriations Committee. Soon after, the budget will receive a full vote on the House floor. When passed by the House, it then moves over to the Senate, where the process begins all over again. During Senate budget hearings, they will either approve or change House recommendations. If both Chambers agree on the budget, it goes to the Governor’s desk for his approval and signature. We will keep you updated on anything specific to our region. 
House Bill 159- Modernizing Adoption Law
Last week, the Senate took up House Bill 159. HB 159 would modernize Georgia adoption laws for the first time in 30 years. There were amendments made through the committee process, so it is now up to the House to determine if we agree with their changes. If we do not, a conference Committee will be appointed to work out differences between the House and Senate chambers. Adoption reform is badly needed, and I feel confident that we will reach a compromise before the end of our 40-day session.  
Georgia DCA Designates Perry as Rural Zone
We are pleased to announce that the Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA) has designated historic downtown Perry as a “Rural Zone” under a new program that will allow eligible businesses to qualify for state tax credits. The Rural Downtown Revitalization Act, enacted by the legislature in 2017, encourages investment in “Rural Zone” communities that creates jobs, refurbishes older buildings and stimulates economic activity. The rural zone revitalization tax credit aims to encourage business investment in historic downtown areas in small communities outside of metro Atlanta. The program includes three different tax credit incentives: a Job Tax Credit, Investment Credit and a Rehabilitation Credit.   This legislation is just one example of steps we are currently taking to ensure the protection and revitalization of our rural communities.

In closing, please continue to look for future updates concerning our Government at work. Please feel free to reach out to me anytime with questions and concerns . Your voice is important and pivotal when ensuring our delegation votes reflect the majority within our district. Thank you for allowing me the honor and privilege to serve our home in this capacity. I look forward to the coming days and will continue to work hard on your behalf ensuring simple, smart and effective government.

Shaw Blackmon
Representative of Georgia's 146th House District
It was a pleasure to welcome the Veterans High School Marching Band from Houston County
to Capitol Hill for a performance in Liberty Plaza last week!
Representative Shaw Blackmon
District 146
Phone: 404-656-0177
Address: 501-E Coverdell Legislative Office Building
Atlanta, Georgia 30334

Rep. Shaw Blackmon represents District 146. He currently serves as a Deputy Whip and as a member of Appropriations, Ways & Means, Economic Development and Tourism, Special Rules, Insurance and
Governmental Affairs Committees. Shaw is also a member of the Military Affairs Working Group.