Gov. Nathan Deal wants to spend half a billion dollars more on K-through-12 education, but after years of lean school budgets it is not clear that would be enough.
An expert CBS Atlanta spoke with applauded the governor for boosting school budgets, but he said that will not be enough to get rid of unpaid time off and give teachers raises.
Gov. Deal pledged to add $547 million to help fund K-through-12 education to allow schools to keep students in class the state minimum of 180 days, eliminate furlough days and give teachers their first pay hike in years.
Doreena Muchmore, whose son goes to Grady High School, said it's about time.
"I think that's a great thing. I'm all for it. I believe teachers should get paid more," Muchmore said.
Deal's proposal would bring the budget for Georgia's school up to $8 billion for the year.
Alan Essig, who heads the non-partisan think tank, the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, that will not leave much money for teacher raises and meet the state's own education standards.
"The fact the governor put that back in is a good thing but it doesn't solve the education crisis," Essig said. "We would need a total of $1.1 billion, which is about $700-800 million more than what the governor proposed."
On jobs, Deal said tax cuts for businesses have attracted new jobs to the state.
"In the three years since I became governor, there have been approximately 217,000 new jobs added in our state, and major job announcements are almost a weekly occurrence," Deal said.
"The problem is we have a jobs deficit of over 300,000 jobs," Essig said, adding that is from all the jobs lost during the recession plus all the people who flowed into Georgia since the recession.
On Medicaid, the governor told lawmakers that Georgia chose not to expand the healthcare program for low-income mothers, pregnant women and the elderly because it would cost taxpayers too much.
Gov. Deal said Georgia would have spent more than $2 billion dollars over 10 years to expand the program.
Essig said the state is leaving money on the table.
"Georgia loses a tremendous amount by opting out of Medicaid expansion. Over a 10-year period, it's $32 billion in federal funds that would have flowed into the state."
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Tuesday, April 20 2010 11:21 PM EDT2010-04-21 03:21:00 GMT
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