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Highlights of Georgia governor’s tours of state to talk about budget

Updated: May. 12, 2021 at 8:44 AM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - After signing the Fiscal Year 2022 budget on Monday, Governor Brian Kemp toured the state Tuesday to speak about some of the highlights.

He held news conferences in Atlanta, Columbus, Augusta and Valdosta.

Among the things he discussed on the tour was a new executive order hoping to bring some relief at the pumps to Georgians, in light of the Colonial Pipeline cyber attack.

He says his office has been in close contact with companies, industry officials and the government.

The executive order increases the weight limit for trucks transporting fuel to provide more supply for stations during delivery. Hoping to relieve cost burdens, gas tax has also been halted.

“The most important thing for people to remember is that Colonial continues to indicate it’s a short term problem. So we want to encourage everyone to be patient, don’t make a run on the pump and fill up every can you got in the house. Get what you need but don’t get more than what you need. Just give us a few days to help the supply chain get caught up,” said Gov. Kemp.

The order prohibits price gouging and it expires on midnight Sunday.

The state’s budget takes effect starting July 1st with more funding going to mental health programs, education and domestic violence sexual assault centers.

The budget consists of over 27 billion dollars in state funds and over 22 billion in federal dollars.

With more funding going to k-12 education centers and early child care to help low income families.

Universities will get funding for big projects. Valdosta State University will be getting 12.4 million dollars for its new performing art’s center.

Funding for high-speed internet, transportation road work, affordable healthcare, along with 40 million dollars in rural innovation funds are also budgeted.

“Georgia’s unemployment rate has dropped for eleven consecutive months and remains below the national average. This budget, we are building on that momentum. We’re investing in rural broadband, economic development, public safety, health care and education. We’re going to continue as we done this year and put hard-working Georgians first,” said Governor Kemp.

New in this year’s budget is money for a GBI Gang Task Force and a new Legal Division.

Thousands more going to sexual assault shelters and safe harbors for sexually exploited children fund.

Millions in funding restored for Behavioral Health and developmental disabilities compared to last year’s budget.

Kemp also addressed the labor shortage during his tour.

he said he met on Monday with State Labor Commissioner, Mark Butler. The Governor says Georgia continues to break records during the pandemic, with 70% of economic development announcements being for jobs in rural parts of the state.

He said jobs are there, but people aren’t taking them.

“Everybody is ... you got restaurants that can’t stay open, manufacturing businesses that need more people, it’s in all sectors. It’s certainly something we’ve been hearing and we’re working on. Really it would be nice if they would do this on the federal level but I think they have a different understanding of the situation then what’s really happening which is disappointing,” said Governor Kemp.

Kemp says he met with Butler to see how they can unwind some of the unemployment benefits.

They hope this will put an ease to employers, current employees and encourage others to come back to work.

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