Monday, May 11, 2015 11:00 AM


Dalton - Gov. Nathan Deal traveled across Georgia on Monday to promote a new $21.8 billion state budget he signed into law that will boost spending on schools, health care, and particularly, construction.

The budget contains $1.1 billion in borrowing for new schools, bridges and college buildings.

That’s on top of the road projects the state is likely to undertake now that it has anew plan expected to funnel about $1 billion a year into transportation. The transportation bill passed too late in the session to be included in the official budget for fiscal 2016, which kicks in July 1.

Still, the state’s spending plan for the upcoming year is the product of an improving state economy that has raised the government’s revenue intake.

“This allows us to to do some things we’ve put off for years,” said Deal at a stop in Dalton. “And if you budget conservatively, you can do more with your money.”

Only a few years ago, state officials were talking about furloughs, shorter school years, program cuts and no pay raises for teachers or employees.

Next year’s budget includes 5-to-10-percent raises for top judges, district attorneys and circuit public defenders, 1 percent to provide merit raises to rank-and-file state ...

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