State Rep. Clay Cox recently delivered a legislative update to the Lilburn Business Association. According to Rep. Cox, this year’s budget is a record $25 billion. In this year’s spending plan, the Education Department will receive $9.4 billion or 38% of the budget to educate 1.7 million K-12 students in 2,267 schools. The Department of Community Health will receive $3.2 billion (roughly 13% of state spending). The University System of Georgia and Department of Transportation round out the top four spending recipients. The remainder of the spending will address bond service and all other departments.
Legislation passed to lay the groundwork for the increased use of driverless vehicles in Georgia, especially as they will pertain to rideshare providers. Lawmakers also passed the Space Flight Authorization Act, which will allow certain areas on the Georgia coast to begin providing facilities for rocket launch and service facilities. Finally, effective Sept. 1 breweries and distilleries will be able to sell a limited amount of their product directly to consumers.
Looking ahead, Rep. Cox indicated that next year’s session will focus on two important measures: (1) Passing a bill that will incentivize businesses to occupy existing empty strip malls and office spaces to reduce blight, and (2) a measure that will give businesses offering a company healthcare plan a tax credit for every employee they hire who was previously on Medicaid.