February 15, 2023

New polling shows Georgians support progressive policies and investment of budget surplus

New polling shows Georgians support progressive policies and investment of budget surplus

Poll finds residents expect lawmakers to focus on passing a budget that makes investments in healthcare, education, and job training

Atlanta, GA. – A state-wide poll conducted by TargetSmart on behalf of the State Innovation Exchange (SiX), New Georgia Project, and Care in Action, finds that the majority of Georgians who are registered to vote support investing the state’s budget surplus in a variety of social services–-healthcare, housing, infrastructure, and education–-as opposed to providing tax rebates.

The Georgia General Assembly has one constitutional duty: to review the Governor’s budget proposal and pass an annual budget for our state. This year, that includes $6 billion in surplus. “It is imperative that Georgians’ voices are heard during the legislative session, especially before legislators finalize the budget. Georgians want long-term investments in healthcare, housing, and education, not tax rebates.”  said Alaina Reaves, Georgia State Director for SiX

When given a direct choice between using the $6 billion dollars in surplus funds to pay for investments in healthcare, housing, and education or tax rebates for families and businesses, a 56% majority of Georgia voters choose investments while just 30% choose tax rebates. The Governor’s current proposal allocates over $1 billion in tax rebates. The tax rebates are $500 per person for joint filers ($250 for single filers) and an additional $500 rebate to homeowners through a homestead tax exemption. According to the budget presentation by Georgia fiscal economist Jeffrey Dorfman, the increase in the budget surplus was raised from income taxes with over half collected from capital gains taxes that is unlikely to reoccur. 

When asked how Georgians would like state leaders to allocate this surplus, the leading responses included:

  • 92% Support Healthcare services in rural areas 
  • 90% Support Workforce training, education, and support 
  • 88% Support Water and wastewater infrastructure
  • 86% Support Higher teacher pay and building an educator pipeline for Georgia public schools 
  • 81% Support Affordable housing 

Priorities favored in the poll that are addressed in budget include investments:

  • Education: $1.1 billion for K-12 education that would fully fund the Quality Basic Education formula
  • Education: $303 million dollars for $2,000 raises for education personnel
  • Workforce Housing: $35.7 million dollars to create the Rural Workforce Housing Fund to build housing developments

In addition, an overwhelming majority of Georgians (77%) support expanding Medicaid access.

"We’re pleased to see research that confirms what we know is true across our state. Most Georgians show strong support for Medicaid expansion, paid family leave, in-home care, and raising the minimum wage to at least $15 an hour," said Jasmine Bowles, Georgia State Director at Care In Action. “Our focus is on supporting the rights of care workers — nannies, domestic workers, and au pairs who deserve  economic security, access to healthcare, and safe working conditions. The care economy is often an invisible workforce, and Care in Action will continue to advocate for these priorities alongside all care workers in Georgia."

“Our latest research has made clear that registered voters in Georgia support progressive policies,” says Ranada Robinson, Research Director of New Georgia Project. “Black registered voters, specifically, are leading in support for Medicaid expansion, investments in public education, marijuana legalization, and voting reforms. By now, no one can deny the power Black Georgians hold as decision makers in this state, and we will continue to make our voices heard on the issues that matter to us. It’s past time our leaders take our priorities seriously.” 

A link to access results can be found here. The statewide survey included live interviews of 1,330 adults aged 18 or older, who are registered to vote in Georgia. The survey was conducted December 14 – 20, 2022.


The State Innovation Exchange (SiX) is a national resource and strategy center that collaborates with state legislators to improve people’s lives through transformative public policy. SiX provides legislators with on-the-ground support; creates tailored policy research, trainings, and communications guidance; and fosters collaboration between legislators—across chambers, across regions, and across state lines—and with grassroots movements.

ABOUT New Georgia Project

New Georgia Project (NGP) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan civic engagement organization working to build power with and increase the civic participation of the New Georgia Majority—Black, Latinx, AAPI, and young Georgians—and other historically marginalized communities through nonpartisan voter registration, organizing, and advocacy on the issues important to our communities. NGP leads with a research-informed approach and is one of the only organizations in Georgia that consistently conducts statewide polling of Black voters, specifically.

ABOUT Care in Action

Care in Action is a nonprofit, nonpartisan group dedicated to fighting for dignity and fairness for the millions of domestic workers in the United States, most of whom are women of color and immigrant women. Founded in 2017, Care in Action is backed by tens of thousands of nannies, house cleaners, and care workers across the country.

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