Since the start of the pandemic, Georgia’s primary response has been to cut funding, and most of those cuts have come at the expense of health care and public education, according to a research and advocacy organization. anti-racist.
The state now has unprecedented federal funding and excess reserves, said Georgia Budget and Policy Institute senior policy analyst Danny Kanso.
“Today we have approximately $10 billion in cash at the state level, including federal ARP (American Rescue Plan) dollars, state surplus, and the Rainy Day Fund, which has now reached its maximum level,” Kanso said. “And so it really is time to stop these budget cuts and turn the corner and make up for lost ground.”
Much of this lost ground was in public health.
GBPI’s policy priorities for 2022 focus on “priority” policies dedicated to strengthening the state’s economy, such as tax proposals and income tax changes.
“We advocate for the implementation of a state earned income tax credit,” Kanso said. “And it would target low- and middle-income families, up to about $60,000 a year in income, with a tax credit.”
Families across the state would see a few hundred extra dollars in their pockets to help with expenses, he said. This money would also translate into the local Georgia economy and be an economic boost. Kanso said 30 other states across the country and the federal government offer the same program.
A full list of GBPI’s policy priorities can be found here. You can read more about GBPI’s vision for statewide prosperity in its People-Powered Prosperity Plan.
This story comes to The Current through a reporting partnership with GPB News, a nonprofit newsroom covering the state of Georgia.