Gov. Kemp pushes teacher raises as he lays out agenda in state of the state

ATLANTA — Georgia teachers could be getting a big pay raise and lawmakers hope taxing online retailers could help pay for it.

Channel 2’s Richard Elliot was at the state Capitol as Gov. Brian Kemp laid out his agenda Thursday in his annual State of the State address.

The governor said the state is in good shape, despite this being the toughest budget year in a while.

He still wants to give teachers that pay raise while lawmakers passed a bill Thursday that could offset the cost.

“The state of the state is strong and folks, we are just getting started,” Kemp said during his speech in front of the General Assembly on Thursday.

Kemp said he wants to crack down on gangs and human trafficking, overhaul the foster care system and fully fund quality basic education.


He also wants to give teachers a $2,000 raise.

“By investing in education, we can build a strong house, a place where everyone learns and all Georgians have the opportunity to thrive,” Kemp said.

Georgia educators applauded the proposed raise.

“I am elated. I’m so happy. I just want to say thank you for making sure that you’re living up, that he’s living up to what he promised,” said Charlotte Booker with the Georgia Association of Educators

But that raise won’t be cheap.

The governor’s office estimates it could cost $360 million in a year. Kemp is asking most state agencies for a 4% cut this year and a 6% cut next year.

But minutes after the speech, both houses approved a bill that will require online retailers and ride-share companies to pay sales tax.

House Ways and Means Chair Brett Harrell guesses the bill will raise a lot of money that should have been coming to Georgia anyway.

“Whatever this first year’s number is, let’s say it’s $150, $180 million -- that number is going to get bigger year after year. It’s not going to get smaller,” said State Rep. Brett Harrell, R – Snellville.

The governor will officially present his budget next week.

Elliot got an email Thursday afternoon from Uber’s spokesperson who said they’re working on alternate legislation that would replace sales tax with a flat fee.