Governor Kemp’s State of the State Address
Last week, starting 1/23/2023, we heard Governor Kemp’s State of the State address. A few things stood out for me.
Governor Kemp seeks to dedicate an additional $1.9 billion in the current and upcoming budgets solely for education needs, including fully funding the Quality Basic Education formula and Hope scholarship. In addition, the Governor is seeking an additional $2,000 pay raise in the FY 2024 budget for teachers and certified school personnel.
I’m pleased the Governor wants to finally full fund education to meet the Quality Basic Education formula (QBE). These are good first steps. However, what concerns me is that the QBE formula was last updated in 1984 so we are funding schools in 2023 with 1984 standards. It would be better to update the standards and fully fund education in line with the needs of the 21st century.
It’s also good give a pay raise to certified school personnel. However, there are a lot of school employees who are not certified whom we need to keep, such as bus drivers and other support personnel. The schools would not function efficiently or at all without these employees and we must not forget these vital people.
The Governor went on to outline his plan to address the growing needs of our health care workforce. During his address, the governor shared that 67 counties in Georgia have less than 10 physicians operating within county lines, and the state’s nursing shortage continues to impact our health care system. As such, the governor proposed allocating more than $4.5 million in the state budget for loan repayment programs to recruit and retain health care workers here in Georgia. He also urged the General Assembly to fund 102 additional residency slots at hospitals across the state by investing $1.7 million in the state budget, and these new slots would exceed the initial goal for the state’s residency program.
I’m glad the governor is doing this and I’m glad he understands there are problems in health care especially in rural areas. Know what would help fix this? Expanding Medicaid! And what is even better is that we would get federal funding to do so. Rural healthcare is in such a bad predicament because we didn’t expand Medicaid. States that have expanded Medicaid have dramatically lowered their uninsured rates which rural hospitals and doctors stay in business.