Gov. Nathan Deal begins his second term with a state budget closer to those of Georgia’s boom years before the recession slashed state revenues to the bare bone.

Deal on Friday offered a proposed $21.78 billion spending plan for FY 2016, which begins July 1, an increase of about $900 million over this year’s budget. The state budget had reached $21 billion before economic bad times sunk state spending to around $18 billion.

But while revenues continue to increase, so has the state’s population, which means that the state’s spending doesn’t go as far as it did before the recession.

“It’s taken us a long time to recover,” said University of Georgia political science professor Dr. Charles Bullock III. “We’re getting back to where we were, and we haven’t begun to be fully able to meet expectations.” 

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