Welcome to my first legislative update! Just over a couple of weeks ago, I was humbled to be sworn in as your representative from Georgia's great 17th district. An experience that my family and I will never forget. At the end of our first week, we also received our committee assignments. Committees are extremely important as this is where most of the work on proposed legislation takes place. I look forward to serving our district as a member of the following committees: Energy, Utilities & Telecommunications, Judiciary Non-Civil and Motor Vehicles. Following the first week, we returned to Capitol Hill for week two, known as “budget week.”
Budget week is arguably the most important week of session. This begins the process of how we decide to spend YOUR hard-earned tax payer dollars. Therefore, we must work to ensure we account for every penny. Georgia, very smartly, works on a zero-based budget system. Zero-based budgeting means we toss out a portion of the current budget annually and start with a fresh slate. Prior to this system, budget spends would simply pile up year after year.
Gov. Brian Kemp, along with state agency heads, made presentations before the Senate and House Appropriation committees on suggested ways to allocate the budget. Below are a few highlights of Gov. Kemp’s spending proposals, which includes raises for our teachers and other hard-working state employees.
Education and quality access to healthcare top the list as they collectively make up 70 percent of the proposed budget. Fiscal Year 2020 budget items include: $15 billion towards education; $5.9 billion towards health care; $2.9 billion towards public safety; and $2 billion towards transportation. Proposed budget allocations also include the $35 million grant for the Technical Schools of Georgia to create an Aviation Academy in Paulding County. The academy will focus on training for aviation mechanics and is expected to be a huge success for our region of the state.
As we move through the legislative session, we will have a better idea of how exactly the allotted money will be spent in each respective area. While initial hearings have come to an end, we have a long way before sending the budget to Gov. Kemp for final approval. Over the next few weeks, we will be studying the budget very closely. I will personally be watching to ensure that our district receives the funding assistance we need from the state. It is no secret that budget appropriations can get rather heated between Assembly members, but I have no doubt our local delegation will be prepared.
All in all, I have really enjoyed my first two weeks. I can’t wait to dive into the committee process. I feel confident that we can find agreement on the best way to preserve our core Georgia values, while moving our state forward. If you need anything at all, please don’t hesitate to contact me anytime. Thank you for allowing me the honor of serving you as it is my pleasure to work on behalf of the great 17th district.
State Rep. Martin Momtahan, R-Dallas, represents House District 17 which includes part of Paulding County. He can be contacted at 404-656-0177 or email@example.com.