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House OKs state budget that includes Lanier Tech funds
Spending plan passes by wide margin, moves to Senate for approval
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Bond money to pay for the relocation and expansion of Lanier Technical College was adopted Friday afternoon by the Georgia House of Representatives as part of the state’s $47.5 billion state budget.

Reps. Carl Rogers and Emory Dunahoo both celebrated approval of the $48.3 million for the technical college.

Lanier Technical College would move from its South Hall campus to an 85-acre tract off Ga. 365 at Howard Road in North Hall County.

“It’s a third of the way done,” Rogers said.

The funding is “great for Hall County,” Dunahoo added.

The House nearly passed the budget unanimously; the vote was 167-1. The budget includes a pay increase of about 3 percent for state employees and school teachers.

It now goes to the Senate, and a conference committee between the two bodies likely will be needed, Rogers noted.

The plan would spend $23.7 billion from state tax collections and other Georgia sources. The rest comes from federal sources.

House leaders added the 3 percent bonus for state retirees to Gov. Nathan Deal’s budget proposal. House members preserved $300 million intended to help school districts lengthen school years after cuts during the recession.

Dunahoo said the pay raise is the first for state employees is the first since about 2007 because of the “economic cliff.”

Rogers noted increases for the state’s judicial system, adult developmental disability services, nursing homes and OB/GYN physicians plus programs to help students studying to become doctors.

He also said a small appropriation, $25,000, would help remove sunken boats and boathouses on Lake Lanier.

He noted education spending is 38 percent of the budget, and includes $8.9 billion for teachers.

Dunahoo also praised the 3 percent raise for teachers. “They deserve it,” he said.

“The budget overall has a lot of good things in it,” Dunahoo said, although he also lamented the increasing costs.

“The only thing we’re required to do is pass the budget. If we just come down and balance the budget and go home, that would be fine with me.”

Rogers also noted the increased revenue and its impact.

“It’s very nice to have dollars in a budget,” he said. “We’re used to not having dollars. It’s good to be back on that track.”

Associated Press reports contributed to this story.

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