Do you know where our 1.95 billion dollars of revenue increases are going in this years budget? Ever wondered how the state of Georgia’s spending habits compare to our neighbors? Or how our state budget has changed since the 2008 recession?
In a segment of short videos, PolicyBest has condensed the most important aspects of this years budget into an easy to understand overview of the budget process. We encourage you to begin with the budget basics, and gain a quick understanding for how the budget is funded and where those funds go.
After that, you should watch the remaining videos which cover more complex topics, like where our revenue growth has gone in FY2017, how our state compares to other states, and how our budget was impacted by the recession.
To view, click on the links below.
Video 1 (Budget Basics): In the first installment of Become a Budget Expert, we discuss the absolute basics about the budget. Mainly that the budget is the one constitutional responsibility of the state legislature and that it needs to be balanced each year. After that, we dive into the budget process calendar and highlight the important role the Governor has in the budget process and setting our states revenue estimate.
Video 2 (State Funding): In the third installment of Become a Budget Expert, we discuss the three areas that make up state funding, taxes and fees, bonds, and the rainy day fund. Taxes and fees make up the yearly state budget in good economic times and are supported in bad times by reserve revenues, called the Rainy Day Fund. Bonds are used to pay for long term projects.
Video 3 (State Spending): In the second installment of Become a Budget Expert, we discuss how the state spends its money. The two largest state policy expenditures are education, which is over 50% of the budget, and healthcare, which is around 20%. Also, it’s important to keep in mind the huge jump in transportation spending this year after the passing of HB170.
Video 4 (Actual Surplus): In the fourth installment of Become a Budget Expert, we discuss how big the surplus actually is when mandatory spending increases are accounted for. The largest increases in mandatory spending are for transportation due to HB170 and K through 12 education. After that, we discuss where the remaining real surplus is planned to go this year. A majority of those funds go to salary increases for state employees.
Video 5 (Budget History): In the fifth installment of Become a Budget Expert, we discuss how Georgia’s budget has changed since 2008. We highlight how the federal stimulus money help weather the worst parts of the recession and explain that our real budget low point was not in 2010, as if often claimed. Furthermore, we examine the real change of the budget when inflation and population growth are accounted for which shows our budget is still beneath its 2008 level.
Video 6 (State Comparison): In the sixth installment of Become a Budget Expert, we discuss how Georgia’s budget measures up when compared to neighboring states. Georgia is near the bottom in per capita spending and runs one of the leanest budgets in the southeast. We spend the least proportionally on public assistance, medicaid, and transportation, while states like North Carolina spend the most on these areas.
We hope you find these videos both informative and enjoyable.