ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) -- Governor Kemp made his second State of the State address Thursday at the State Capitol, vowing to improve education, crime rates, and healthcare expenses.
Kemp vows to give all public school educators their second pay raise since took office, a promise he made in his campaign.
“In my budget I have included a 2,000 dollar pay raise for all public school educators,” Kemp said from the House well. “This raise will continue to enhance retention rates, boost recruitment numbers, and improve educational outcomes in schools throughout Georgia,” he explained.
Last session, Kemp vowed to give $5,000 pay raised to educators. They received $3,000 last year and this pay bump will complete the promise.
Kemp also stressed his desire to get rid of all remnants of Common Core curriculum and to reduce the number of tests students have to take.
Charlotte Booker, the president of the Georgia Association of Educators, told CBS46’s Hayley Mason that this is the happiest she has ever been during a legislative session. “Two thousand dollars doesn’t sound like a lot to some people but to teachers, it’s monumental,” Booker said.
Positioning himself as a pro-life governor, Kemp announced that he wants to triple the tax credits for parents who want to adopt. The credit will increase from $2,000 to $6,000 to offset the cost of adoption.
“We will lower the adoption age from 25 to 21 so more qualified Georgians can adopt and more children can be placed,” Kemp told the applauding crowd.
The pay increases and tax credits will be a challenge in a tight budget year. Kemp has asked lawmakers to cut the state budget by 4% this year and 6% next year while he also want to fund anti-gang task force initiatives and agencies that will fight drug cartels and sex trafficking.
One effort Republican leadership believes will help bring in revenue is collecting sales taxes from online retailers. The Senate and House passed a marketplace facilitator bill Thursday to collect the state taxes from online sites and housing rental sites. Starting April 1st, online retailers like Walmart.com, Amazon, short-term rental sites and thousands others will pay state taxes that have slipped through the cracks of online sales for years.
“It’s at a minimum $150 million state and local, there are some groups that say it could be as high as $750 million,” said Rep. Brett Harrell, R-Snellville. “I believe that’s probably much higher than it will turn out to be,” he added.
He says growth has clearly shifted from brick and mortar sales to online.
“If you are offering a taxable service and not collecting and remitting, this will identify the entity responsible making that collection and remittance to the state,” he said.
Tax exempt products will not be affected.