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Kemp pushes tax refunds for all, pay hike for teachers

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp delivers a COVID briefing on Dec. 29, 2021, amid a rapidly rising wave...
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp delivers a COVID briefing on Dec. 29, 2021, amid a rapidly rising wave of the omicron variant of coronavirus.(WRDW)
Published: Jan. 12, 2022 at 12:06 PM EST
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ATLANTA - Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp is proposing a $1.6 billion tax refund for all Georgia taxpayers as part of a proposal to amend the Fiscal Year 2022 budget.

The governor pushed the proposal, which would provide a $250 refund to single tax filers and $500 to those filing jointly, during a Chamber of Commerce Eggs and Issues legislative preview event.

“Last fiscal year, because we kept Georgia open and fought alongside you all in this room to keep businesses and communities afloat, the state collected a record budget surplus. I believe that when government takes in more money than it needs, surplus funds should be sent back to the hardworking men and women who keep our state moving forward. Because that is your money. Not the governments,” Kemp said.

Under Kemp’s amended budget proposal, retired military veterans would also receive a retirement-income exclusion.

“These men and women deserve more than our words of appreciation, even though we have many to give. They deserve action that shows our gratitude. One of the key points of my platform has been to enact a retirement-income exclusion for retired military,” he said.

His budget proposal includes an additional $25 million in funding to the HOPE scholarship, which offers students in all public post-secondary education institutions financial aid.

“My budget proposal ensures that HOPE programs cover at least 90% of tuition at all Georgia public higher education institutions. For eight straight years, Georgia’s economy has been unmatched across the country and it’s our responsibility to develop a workforce that furthers that success,” the governor said.

Also in his budget plan, Kemp wants teachers to get the remaining $2,000 of his proposed $5,000 raise as soon as possible.

He plans to ask lawmakers to give teachers a one-time $2,000 bonus before the current budget year ends.

The amount would then become a permanent part of teacher salaries when the next budget year begins July 1.

Kemp also plans to seek a one-time $2,000 payment to other full-time K-12 employees who aren’t teachers. He wants to pay a $1,000 bonus to part-time school employees, school nurses, bus drivers and cafeteria workers.

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