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February 16, 2021

How the US state of Georgia balanced its books in the face of Covid

By Paul Dennis

16 February

Economists believe that Georgia has been more effective in responding to the coronavirus pandemic, compared to other US states.

The US state of Georgia continues to budget conservatively, focusing on key areas such as restoring education, expanding internet access, and prioritising public health.

Jeffrey Dorfman, Georgia’s state fiscal economist, retweeted Governor Brian Kemp’s signing of the amended fiscal year 2021 budget.

Kemp added that funding the budget with no agency cuts, furloughs, layoffs, or new taxes was possible only because of Georgia’s balanced response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The governor stated that the state was quick to respond to the coronavirus pandemic and budget conservatively, as other states resorted to cutting essential services, raised taxes or furloughed workers.

Kemp stated that the amended budget not only restored critical funding but also provided a foundation for continued growth, even in the midst of the pandemic.

For example, the state has managed to restore education funding with over $610m for K-12 schools and $1,000 bonus to be provided to teachers and state employees, has invested $20m to expand rural broadband access, and has allocated approximately $300,000 towards supporting hospitals and healthcare staff.

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