Finalizing Georgia’s Budget

Featured, Politics

Georgia Senate

COLUMN

Contact:          Ines Owens, Acting Director
Ines.Owens@senate.ga.gov
404.656.0028

Finalizing Georgia’s Budget

By: Sen. Steve Gooch (R – Dahlonega)

As the General Assembly marches closer to Sine Die, our constitutional duty of passing a balanced budget for Georgia’s government has become our biggest priority for the last few legislative days. The Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) general budget, House Bill 44, is near completion. The Senate and House both have their own versions and each is standing steadfast, so the $25 billion budget will now head to a Conference Committee that will work to come up with a compromise on a budget that is fiscally responsible.

There are a few allocations in HB 44 that I would be glad to see make it out of the Conference Committee. Among them are appropriations for our education system. Under the Senate version of HB 44, teachers across Georgia would get a two percent increase in their base salary and the Teachers Retirement System would receive an additional $223.5 million so it can be fully funded. Additionally, the Senate’s version would provide nearly $17 million to buy new school buses.

Currently, Georgia Public Broadcasting provides video streams of both the House of Representative and Senate chambers. Since the Senate wants to be as transparent as possible to all of Georgia’s citizens, there’s a $485,000 appropriation for the Senate Transparency Project, which would include video streaming of Senate proceedings and committee meetings.

There are also some line items that will directly benefit Senate District 51. The proposed budget would allocate $150,000 to the Young Farmers programs in Fannin County. Also, $1.1 million would be allocated to purchase equipment for a new convocation center and the renovation of Memorial Hall for the University of North Georgia in Dahlonega. The Senate FY18 budget recommendation also includes $100,000 in airport aid for the Blairsville Airport.

I’m proud that we are appropriating funds through conservative fiscal policies. If you have any questions about the budget or any legislation that is pending, please reach out to my office. As the pace picks up during our final two weeks, I will keep your input and interests in mind to ensure that legislation we pass will benefit you, your families and Georgia.

For the full version of HB 44 and details related to the Senate version, follow the link below:

http://www.senate.ga.gov/sbeo/en-US/AppropriationsDocuments.aspx

# # # #

Sen. Steve Gooch serves as Majority Whip of the Senate Majority Caucus. He represents the 51st Senate District which includes Dawson, Fannin, Gilmer, Lumpkin, Union and White counties and portions of Forsyth and Pickens counties.  He may be reached at 404.656.9221 or via email at steve.gooch@senate.ga.gov.

Author

Broadband Access Moves Forward with Senate Bill 232

Featured

By: Sen. Steve Gooch (R – Dahlonega)

Friday marked the end of a very busy week at the Capitol. The Senate picked up the pace with committee meetings running late into the night and Senators working hard to pass legislation before Crossover Day on Friday, March 3.

On Tuesday, I introduced Senate Bill 232, the “Facilitating Internet Broadband Rural Expansion (FIBRE) Act,” to address broadband access issues that affect citizens across the state. Greater access to this invaluable resource has proven to increase quality of life and serve as an economic development tool. SB 232 will address the ways Georgia can move forward and promote the availability and delivery of broadband services to citizens throughout the state. The FIBRE Act defines broadband service as internet access capable of transmitting data at a rate of 25 megabytes for downloading and at least 3 megabytes per second for uploading.

First, SB 232 will govern the ability of local authorities to regulate or charge for the collocation of small wireless facilities in public rights of way under certain circumstances. Any disputes between the local governing authorities and companies wishing to install the small wireless facilities will be handled by the Public Service Commission.

Second, a political subdivision maybe certified as a gigabit ready community if they enact an ordinance for reviewing applications and streamlining permits related to broadband network projects.

Third, service delivery strategies will include plans to promote the availability and delivery of broadband services. The strategies will be used to identify steps which will be taken to ensure that the population of a local government has reasonable and cost-effective access to broadband services.

Fourth, SB 232 redefines the Universal Access Fund to allow the Public Service Commission to fund the deployment of internet services in rural areas. It also reassures reasonably priced access to basic local exchange services.  The commission will ensure that the fund operates in a competitively neutral manner when it comes to competing telecommunication providers.

Fifth, Electric Membership Corporations (EMCs) will be authorized to provide and operate emerging communication technologies to include internet services. They currently serve electricity to approximately 4.2 million Georgians.

Sixth, SB 232 will address tax exemptions for deployment of broadband technology and how SPLOST proceeds are to be used and may be expended for broadband services in rural areas of the state.

Lastly, the Georgia Department of Economic Development will create the Georgia Gigabit Ready Community Site designation program. This designation will help identify sites in the state where business prospects will have access to internet speeds greater than 1 gigabit.

This legislation if passed could be the game changer for internet access in rural Georgia. I look forward to working with my colleagues on SB 232 as it moves through the legislative process. I hope you will reach out to my office if you have any questions, comments or concerns about SB 232 or any pending legislation.
Sen. Steve Gooch serves as Majority Whip of the Senate Majority Caucus. He represents the 51st Senate District which includes Dawson, Fannin, Gilmer, Lumpkin, Union and White counties and portions of Forsyth and Pickens counties.  He may be reached at 404.656.9221 or via email at steve.gooch@senate.ga.gov.

 

The Halfway Point

Featured, Politics

Georgia Senate

 

 

Column

Contact: Ines Owens, Acting Director
Ines.Owens@senate.ga.gov
404.656.0028

 

The Halfway Point

By: Sen. Steve Gooch (R – Dahlonega)

This week marked the halfway point of the 2017 legislative session and the end of week six here at the state Capitol. From committee meetings, to the many special guests we honored on the Senate floor, it has certainly been a busy week here, and the pace is sure to continue in the next 20 days.

This week I had the privilege of honoring two talented and smart young ladies from District 51, Taylor Burrell, Miss Apple Capitol, and Chandler Sherry, Miss Apple Capitol’s Outstanding Teen. These two women will represent our area in the Miss America and Miss America’s Outstanding Teen preliminary competitions. It was wonderful having them on the Senate floor and I am grateful for their willingness to representing our district with pride.

This week was full of important legislation, so I am going to give you a basic rundown of some of the bills we heard on the Senate Floor, all of which passed and will now travel to the House for consideration:

Senate Bill 2, “The FAST Act – Fairness, Accountability, Simplification, and Transparency – Empowering Our Small Businesses to Succeed” supports businesses, big and small and will reduce the regulatory burdens placed on Georgia’s small businesses. It aims to simplify the licensing processes and to eliminate nuisance taxes.

Senate Bill 3, the “Creating Opportunities Needed Now to Expand Credentialed Training Act”, would encourage high schools and industries to participate in credentialing programs that would allow high school students to earn certified industry credentials while still in school. Areas of focus under this bill include industries in the career, technical and agriculture education programs.

Senate Bill 45, or the “upskirting bill,” would make the observation, filming, video recording or photography under or through an individual’s clothing to view intimate body parts illegal in Georgia. This bill is needed to amend the current outdated law because of today’s technology saturated society. It’s good to see our privacy being protected and our laws being update to reflect changes in modern technology.

Senate Bill 89 would provide investments for railroads to help support transportation across the state. As our state becomes more populated and our economic opportunities expand, it’s important that our infrastructure needs follow as well. By increasing funding to railway, we ensure that our state’s infrastructure needs in freight rail are met for years to come. This bill is extremely important to my colleagues and me and will keep Georgia on the right track for economic success and prosperity.

As always, it is a pleasure to represent you in Atlanta. Your opinion means a lot to me and I hope you will reach out to my office if you have any questions, comments or concerns about pending legislation. Thank you!

# # # #

Sen. Steve Gooch serves as Majority Whip of the Senate Majority Caucus. He represents the 51st Senate District which includes Dawson, Fannin, Gilmer, Lumpkin, Union and White counties and portions of Forsyth and Pickens counties.  He may be reached at 404.656.9221 or via email at steve.gooch@senate.ga.gov.

Author

The Amended 2017 Budget

Featured, Politics

image003-1

COLUMN

Contact:          Ines Owens, Acting Director
Ines.Owens@senate.ga.gov
404.656.0028

The Amended 2017 Budget

By: Sen. Steve Gooch (R – Dahlonega)

This week, the Senate passed one of the most important pieces of legislation that we will see all year: The Amended 2017 Fiscal Year (FY) budget. The AFY 2017 budget (also known as the “little budget”) is passed halfway through each fiscal year. AFY 2017 revenue stands at around $24 billion and will be used to make adjustments to our currently under or over funded programs and departments.

One of the biggest changes was to add $27.2 million in funds for salary increases for law enforcement officers. This salary increase is critical to address turnover and to ensure Georgia is retaining top tier talent. Additionally, we added $2.5 million to fund a 57 percent per diem increase for foster parents and $50 million for the creation of the new Georgia Cyber Range in Augusta.

In the amended budget, education makes up the bulk of the budget’s anticipated expenditures. Georgia’s technical schools are becoming a more and more popular alternative for students who wish to pursue career paths in any number of high-demand industries across the state. To respond to the growing number of interested students and to meet the high demand of skilled labor jobs, the budget allots $5.5 million in additional funds for career, technical and agricultural education equipment grants. The budget also calls for an added $16.8 million for our Move on When Ready dual enrollment education program so we can continue to allow high school students to receive college credit.

Other highlights include an additional $91.8 million for adjustments for enrollment growth, $9.1 million State Commission Charter School Supplement, and $9.9 million in grants for our charter school system. These funds are all necessary to ensure that our education system keeps up with the rigorous standards expected of our students.

If you have any questions about the proposed AFY17 budget or would like to review it, you can find it at:http://www.senate.ga.gov/sbeo/Documents/AppropriationsDocuments/FY2017/Amended/AFY17_SAC_FINAL.pdf

If you have any questions about the proposed amended budget or legislation coming through the Senate, please feel free to contact my office.

# # # #

Sen. Steve Gooch serves as Majority Whip of the Senate Majority Caucus. He represents the 51st Senate District which includes Dawson, Fannin, Gilmer, Lumpkin, Union and White counties and portions of Forsyth and Pickens counties.  He may be reached at 404.656.9221 or via email at steve.gooch@senate.ga.gov.

Author

Broadband Access Moving Forward

Featured

By: Sen. Steve Gooch (R – Dahlonega)

The Senate reconvened for legislative day five on Monday. Standing committees started meeting to adopt their rules in preparation for bill hearings starting next week. Several pieces of legislation were introduced this week and many more will be dropped as we progress through the session. In the next couple of weeks, I will be proposing legislation addressing the findings of the Joint Senate and House Study Committee on High Speed Broadband Communications Access for All Georgians.

The study committee held regional meetings around the state during the interim to hear from rural Georgians about the challenges and opportunities that exist with broadband access. After hearing from citizens and stakeholders, it is clear that broadband access is an issue that must be addressed across the entire state. Greater access to this resource has proven to increase quality of life and serve as an economic development tool.

The legislation I plan to propose is based on the committee’s recommendations and findings. As the legislation moves through the legislative process, I plan to meet with stakeholders, constituents and people around the state to ensure that any proposed legislation will benefit all Georgians.

For the full overview of the final report, please follow this link: http://www.senate.ga.gov/sro/Documents/StudyCommRpts/2016FinalReportBroadbandAccess.pdf

My work at the Capitol relies on your feedback, so please continue reaching out to discuss legislation with me. I am proud to serve over 200,000 constituents who reach out via email, phone calls and visits to provide feedback. My staff and I appreciate these efforts and want to reassure each and every one of you that every phone call, email or office visit is taken into consideration when casting my vote in the Senate chamber. Although we may not be able to respond immediately, your voices are heard. Please do not hesitate to call or email me at any time. I am in office to serve you!

Sen. Steve Gooch serves as Majority Whip of the Senate Majority Caucus. He represents the 51st Senate District which includes Dawson, Fannin, Gilmer, Lumpkin, Union and White counties and portions of Forsyth and Pickens counties.  He may be reached at 404.656.9221 or via email at steve.gooch@senate.ga.gov.

 

Georgia DOT Contracts Awarded for Senate District 51

Press Release

 

Press Release

 

Contact:           Ines Owens, Acting Director

ines.owens@senate.ga.gov
404.656.0028

 

Georgia DOT Contracts Awarded for Senate District 51GDOT

 

ATLANTA (January 25, 2017) | The Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) awarded approximately $8.6 million for road projects in Senate District 51 as part of a $54 million statewide construction and maintenance upgrade. Projects for Senate District 51 were announced as part of the 2016 November and December awards.

 

“Maintenance and upgrades for existing roads continue to be a critical issue for our local communities,” said Senator Steve Gooch(R – Dahlonega). “I commend GDOT for acknowledging the needs within our community and awarding projects to Senate District 51. These projects will increase safety, decrease congestion and ensure that existing infrastructure needs are met.”

 

Dawson County was awarded a project totaling around $3.8 million. This funding will go toward construction of a roundabout on State Route 53 at State Route 183. The anticipated completion date for this project is May 31, 2018.

 

A project totaling around $4.5 million was awarded to address approximately 53 miles of plant mix resurfacing and surface treatment paving at five locations across Fannin and Pickens Counties. These upgrades will be completed by November 30, 2017. Along with this award, Pickens County was awarded an additional project totaling $292,243. This project will increase safety throughout the county by funding signing and pavement marking upgrades at railroad crossing location throughout the county. The anticipated completion date for these projects is May 31, 2018.

 

Information on schedules, lane closures and detours will be made available on the Georgia DOT Website in advance of construction activities.

 

Details on all projects awarded can be found through the Award Announcement Downloads link at https://www.bidx.com/ga/letting?lettingid=16052001. Click on Award Announcement on the right.

 

# # # #

Sen. Steve Gooch serves as Majority Whip of the Senate Majority Caucus. He represents the 51st Senate District which includes Dawson, Fannin, Gilmer, Lumpkin, Union and White counties and portions of Forsyth and Pickens counties.  He may be reached at 404.656.9221 or via email at steve.gooch@senate.ga.gov.

Author

2017 Budget Hearings Update

Politics

 

2017 Budget Hearings Update

By: Sen. Steve Gooch (R – Dahlonega)

The Senate reconvened for week two after a day off in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. This week was dedicated to Senate and House Appropriation Committee’s budget hearings. Governor Nathan Deal and Georgia’s various agencies outline their policy and budget proposals to the committee members. We also heard from several state economists who presented a positive outlook of Georgia’s economy. They echoed the Governor’s remarks that our state remains number one in the nation for business growth. We are at near full employment and our Rainy Day fund now exceeds $2 billion.

On Tuesday, Governor Deal elaborated on the budget plan he introduced last week in his State of the State Address. Among the governor’s recommendations for the Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) general budget is a $2 billion allocation for transportation funding. These funds will go towards improving and upgrading aging aspects of our transportation infrastructure, such as road repaving, road expansions and bridge repairs. These upgrades will ensure that our state’s roadways remain safe and easily traversable for all those who travel in or around our state.

Education has been and will remain a top priority for us this year. Our graduation rates are at an all-time high and our test scores are outpacing the national average. In order to keep up with the growing demands of our public education system, Governor Deal has recommended an additional $133.2 million for enrollment growth and training, as well as $240 million in bond packages to fund the construction of new schools and school equipment. The HOPE scholarship remains an important pathway to higher education for so many of Georgia’s students and the governor has recommended an additional $49.3 million in order to ensure that pathway remains open.

You can find Governor Deal’s proposed Fiscal Year 2017 amended budget and the Governor Deal’s proposed Fiscal Year 2018 general budget online at https://opb.georgia.gov/.

In the coming weeks, we will begin to hold committee meetings in order to individually evaluate legislation. Your feedback is important to my work on your behalf, so please continue reaching out to discuss legislation with me. I take every phone call, email or office visit into consideration when casting my vote in the Senate chamber. Please do not hesitate to call or email me at any time. I am in office to serve you!

# # # #

Sen. Steve Gooch serves as Majority Whip of the Senate Majority Caucus. He represents the 51st Senate District which includes Dawson, Fannin, Gilmer, Lumpkin, Union and White counties and portions of Forsyth and Pickens counties.  He may be reached at 404.656.9221 or via email at steve.gooch@senate.ga.gov.

Author

Insider Advantage/James Magazine Present “Influential Georgians” Awards

News

Insider Advantage/James Magazine Present “Influential Georgians” Awards

Bookmark and Share

IAG CEO Phil Kent and Speaker of the House David Ralston present the ‘Top Legislators’ award to Rep. Barry Fleming, Rep. Stacey Evans, & Sen. Steve Gooch

 

Atlanta’s Commerce Club was the venue yesterday evening for the Insider Advantage/James Magazine “2016 Influential Georgians” reception sponsored by the Atlanta law firm Hall Booth and Smith. Approximately 70 attendees– ranging from various state and local elected officials to prominent business, judicial and political leaders– were welcomed by Insider Advantage/James CEO and Publisher Phil Kent and Hall Booth Smith Managing Partner John Hall.

Phil Kent presents the ‘2016 Influential Georgians Award’ to Georgia Power CEO Paul Bowers

Kent presented the “2016 Influential Georgians Award” to Georgia Power Company CEO Paul Bowers.

Bowers became chairman, president and CEO of Georgia Power in 2010, having previously served as chief financial officer of the Southern Company. His business, civic and charitable service is wide-ranging an impressive— which is why James chose him for the award. His board memberships include serving on the University System Board of Regents, the Georgia Research Alliance, the Georgia Historical Society, the Atlanta Committee for Progress and the policy advisory board for the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce. He was also the 2015 chairman of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce.

A special guest was Georgia House of Representatives Speaker David Ralston, who presented three InsiderAdvantage/James “2016 Lawmakers of the Year” awards. The recipients were state Sen. Steve Gooch, R-Dahlonega, who was elected majority whip of the Senate GOP Caucus in 2014 and has been a key policy-maker in the critical area of transportation; state Rep. Stacey Evans, D-Smyrna, a lawyer known as a voice for, among other issues, restoring and preserving the HOPE Scholarship; and state Rep. Barry Fleming, R-Harlem, an attorney who has sponsored numerous criminal justice bills.

Ralston commended Kent along with InsiderAdvantage/James Magazine “for presenting fair and balanced information necessary to all Georgians— and I don’t usually praise the media.”

Attendees included prominent business people, members of the state Supreme Court and Court of Appeals, various judges and lawyers, the state’s attorney general, Republican and Democrat activists, high-powered lobbyists of government affairs firms, a bipartisan group of state legislators and former Atlanta Mayor Sam Massell.

Author

FetchYourNews.com - Dedicated to serve the needs of the community. Provide a source of real news-Dependable Information-Central to the growth and success of our Communities. Strive to encourage, uplift, warn, entertain, & enlighten our readers/viewers- Honest-Reliable-Informative.

News - Videos - TV - Marketing - Website Design - Commercial Production - Consultation

Search

FetchYourNews.com - Citizen Journalists - A place to share “Your” work. Send us “Your” information or tips - 706.276.NEWs (6397) 706.889.9700 chief@FetchYourNews.com

Back to Top