Editor’s Note: This is the latest legislative update from 50th District State Senator John Wilkinson. The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are his.
The Senate reconvened this week following a meticulous three-day period of joint budget hearings conducted by members of the Senate Appropriations Committee and their fellow colleagues in the House. After listening to the distinct budgetary requests of Governor Kemp and various state agency liaisons, I am ready for a full session dedicated to keeping every Georgian at the top of our minds. As public servants, we have a sole constitutional responsibility to pass a balanced budget; however, as state senators, we also took an oath of office. That oath was to promote the interests and prosperity of the state, while my personal oath to you was to ensure Senate District 50 is represented to the best of my ability under the Capitol. I have, and will continue to do so, in the weeks to come.
As a general overview, our state is economically sound. Georgia businesses have been growing exponentially, unemployment is at an all-time low, and our ability to create jobs has seen monumental success. Our state revenue stream is starting to slow, causing for some area of concern, yet the issue is not due to any area of incompetency, but rather our excellent ability to hire. We are simply running out of qualified workers for available jobs. Throughout the session of budget hearings, other state legislators and I listened to the impact this would have on departments across Georgia, as well as the Governor’s initiatives for prioritizing our funding allocations.
Of the Governor’s proposed budget, he plans to spend roughly 54% of that in our education systems through various methods of funding. Our state educators selflessly commit themselves to creating better opportunities for those around them. They facilitate a future fueled by skill and innovation; they help generate bright minds and creative thinkers, masterful doctors, scientists and agriculturalists. Georgia continues to be a leader in the technology industry and consistently ranks as a top producer in poultry, peanuts, fruit and more. We have our teachers to thank for that and I hope these budget allocations will help them touch more lives.
As we continue on with the legislative session, I want you to remind you of the pledge I took to serve you. My work in Chamber and throughout meetings will help reflect our community’s needs. If you ever have any questions about legislation, or just want to have a chat about what is important to you, please reach out to my office.
About the author: Sen. John Wilkinson serves as Chairman of the Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee. He represents the 50th Senate District which includes Banks, Franklin, Habersham, Rabun, Stephens, and Towns counties and portions of Hall and Jackson counties. He can be reached by phone at 404.463.5257 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.