$32.4B Georgia budget passes House, includes raises for state law enforcement

ATLANTA — Georgia lawmakers were debating the state’s proposed $32.4 billion budget Thursday.

STORY: Jacksonville Beach vacation rental turns into suspected gang bust; JBPD say guns and drugs involved

It’s a budget that includes raises for state employees and law enforcement.

Channel 2′s Richard Elliott was at the state capitol today where even Democrats say the budget is mostly a good one.

STORY: 8 killed, including shooter, at Jehovah’s Witness hall in Hamburg, Germany

But they say it’s missing one thing - fully expanding Medicaid.

The House’s top Democrats say, except for that, this budget is pretty good.

But other critics point out this budget doesn’t fully fund the Hope scholarship, something Governor Kemp wanted in it.

STORY: Life in prison for former ‘Hotdogs for Hope’ minister found guilty of sex crimes

Dublin lawmaker Matt Hatchett presented his first budget to the full House and admitted he learned something valuable from the appropriations process.

“I’ve also learned that $32 billion doesn’t go as far as you think it would,” Hatchett said.

That’s because every lawmaker wants something they can take home to their districts.

STORY: Orange Park Police Department hosts ‘Engaging with People with Differences’

Here’s what’s in this House version.

The budget comes in at $32.4 billion, a $2 billion increase over last year.

STORY: 10 arrested after brawl involving 200 people breaks out at Louisiana alternative school

It includes about $13 billion for K-12 education, $35 million for mental health programs, $6.3 million for free and reduced school breakfasts and lunches, $2.25 million to support the state’s 988 suicide hotline.

Plus, for state employees, a $2,000 raise, a $500 bonus for state retirees, and a $4,000 raise for state law enforcement, something House Speaker Jon Burns said was badly needed.

“I believe it’s very important not just to pay lip service to those folks who risk their lives on a daily basis to protect the citizens of this state,” Burns said.

House Democratic Minority Leader James Beverly said they got a seat at the budget table and were able to get something into it that they wanted.

STORY: 11-foot alligator found in Florida pool broke through screen ‘like the Kool-Aid Man’

Still, he said the budget once again misses an opportunity because it doesn’t fund a fully expanded Medicaid program.

“It falls short because we didn’t get him to expand healthcare to all Georgians. I mean, I can’t say that enough,” Beverly said.

STORY: Harriet Tubman monument unveiled in New Jersey, replaces statue of Columbus

Though the budget passed the House 167-1, the governor didn’t get everything he wanted.

It doesn’t fully fund Hope scholarships, it funds it at 95%.

It will now go to the Senate for another round of negotiations.

CLICK HERE for the original WSB-TV article.