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Kemp calls for new teacher raises in State of State

He touts booming economy, doesn't address budget shortfall

ATLANTA — Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp called on the General Assembly to fund another $2000 annual pay raise for schoolteachers, according to prepared remarks distributed prior to Kemp’s State of the State speech.

Kemp didn’t specify how to pay for it, nor did he address a budget shortfall that may make the raise a tough sell among lawmakers.

Kemp also promised to triple the state’s adoption tax credit, from $2000 to $6000 “to help new parents offset the incredible costs of adoption.”

Kemp touted the state’s economic health, saying it has added 64,000 jobs in the last year with a record-low unemployment rate of 3.3 percent.

RELATED: Georgia House passes budget, including raises for teachers

The governor did not mention the state’s robust film industry, whose tax credits have come under fire in two state audits, plus a Kennesaw State University study. The reports say the costly state program hasn’t had the impact on jobs touted by the state in recent years.

Kemp also touted the First Lady Marty Kemp’s commission on human trafficking, created last year; and a gang task force under the auspices of the GBI.

Kemp told lawmakers he expects them to “implement long overdue reforms” to reduce “surprise medical billing” from out-of-network doctors and specialists.

“Families are living on a prayer because the system is rigged against them,” he said.

Kemp mentioned the contentious "heartbeat bill" he signed last year, effectively outlawing abortion after six weeks gestation. The law is on hold, pending court decisions.  "We have to defend those in the womb, and then champion those when they leave the delivery room," he said as he introduced his adoption proposal, and a new commission charged with updating the state's foster care system.

Kemp also recognized former US Senator Johnny Isakson, who resigned his senate seat because of his advancing Parkinson’s disease. 

Kemp said the University of Georgia will create a “Johnny Isakson Professorship for Parkinson’s Research” to develop better treatments for patients.

Isakson was in attendance, along with former Gov. Nathan Deal and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.


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