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Georgia collects huge surplus for 3rd straight year with a total of nearly $11 billion

Georgia now has $10.7 billion in surplus cash that its leaders can spend however they want after the state ran a huge surplus for the third straight year.

The State Accounting Office, in a Monday report, said Georgia ran a $5.3 billion surplus in the 2022 budget year ended June 30, even after spending $32.6 billion.

Total state general fund receipts rose about $1 billion, or 3%. But because Gov. Brian Kemp has kept budgeting spending well below prior year revenues, the amount of surplus cash at the end of each year keeps rising.

The state has other reserves, as well, including a rainy day fund filled to the legal limit of $5.4 billion and a lottery reserve fund that now tops $2.1 billion. All told, Georgia had about $18.5 billion in cash reserves by June 30, an amount equal to more than half of projected state spending for the current budget year.

 

Most Georgia agencies took a 10% cut in the 2021 budget, when officials feared a sharp revenue drop from the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, federal stimulus programs and inflation fueled higher tax collections. Agencies saw budgets increase in 2022 and 2023, but mostly to raise employee pay. Many programs never recovered from 2021 cuts.

Georgia plans to spend $32.5 billion in state revenue — or $55.9 billion overall once federal and other revenue is included — in the year that began July 1.

Georgia’s budget pays to educate 1.7 million K-12 students and 435,000 college students; house 49,000 state prisoners; pave 18,000 miles of highways; and care for more than 200,000 people who are mentally ill, developmentally disabled, or addicted to drugs or alcohol.

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