Helping Georgians, and his reelection chances too
On August 11, Georgia's Governor Brian Kemp shared his latest thoughts on what he might do with some of the billions of dollars that the state has accumulated in its budget surplus - and it seems that at least some of that money could be getting returned to Georgia's taxpayers in the months before the gubernatorial election.
Kemp has suggested that it would be a combined decision with state legislators as to how the money is disbursed.
Returning public money to the public
The move has been positioned by Kemp as a way of giving back to citizens of the state at a time when inflation is rampant and the cost of living is proving hard for many to manage. A side effect may just be that it wins Governor Kemp a few more votes against his Democratic challenger.
Commenting on the idea, Kemp had this to say:
"I believe that isn't the government's money. It's yours and our job isn't to spend it all just because we can."
"We want to give you, the citizens, your money back, because it's going to be more than we just need to spend on wasteful projects."
$1.1 billion refunded to tax-payers in May
Earlier this year, Governor Kemp led an initiative in which $1.1 billion was returned to Georgia's taxpayers who had submitted their tax returns for 2020-21 were eligible for a refund of up to $500.
With the news that even more money could be on its way to qualifying citizens of the state, Kemp may just find that his popularity increases in the run up to the election.
Abrams calls for the surplus to be invested
Commenting on Georgia's budgetary surplus earlier this week, Democrat Stacey Abrams has suggested investing the money in ways that might not be so popular with voters but which represent investment for the state's future.
Her suggestion is to put some of the money towards expanding Medicaid as well as giving raises to teachers, state police and prison guards. The money would benefit some - but not all - Georgians but the overall effect may well be to improve the quality of education and law enforcement in the state as well as access to healthcare.
In neighboring Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis championed a number of financial measures to benefit first responders and teachers including increased salaries, one-off bonus payments and schemes to support these workers in buying property.
Whether the plans suggested by Kemp take effect, remains to be seen. If state legislators approve the payments then Georgians could find themselves the grateful recipients of another windfall payment.
Do you think that the surplus money should be returned to Georgians as suggested by Governor Kemp, or do you think it should be invested more strategically as suggested by Stacey Abrams? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.