Kemp says $3B budget boost will bring ‘a lot of good things’

Gov. Brian Kemp is pitching his plan to lawmakers to spend almost $3 billion more in the coming budget year, telling them “we’ve got a lot of good things to talk about this year.”

That list includes income tax rebates, pay raises for teachers, university employees and state employees, more funding for K-12 and higher education. State economist Jeffrey Dorfman forecasts the state can afford the spending because tax revenue is expected to continue growing after a potential flat patch later this year.

In a speech to legislative budget writers Tuesday, Kemp joked about “only being off $4 billion” on the state’s revenue estimate last year. The Republican governor sets that estimate, the legal limit on what lawmakers can spend. Both Kemp and lawmakers believed revenue would decline sharply during the pandemic, but federal aid not only propped up spending but fattened household savings, helping to boost tax receipts and pouring money into state coffers.

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