Some Georgia agencies paint somber picture of proposed budget cuts

In his second State of the State address, Gov. Brian Kemp promised to give Georgia educators a $2,000 pay raise.


This week Gov. Brian Kemp’s budget cuts became more of a reality as state agency heads outlined exactly what they’re having to do with less money.

Some seemed confident they would be able to handle the cuts through things like cutting office expenses and ditching unused landlines, but others painted a more somber picture, with layoffs and elimination of needed but vacant positions.

The mandated budget cuts are because of a shortfall in state income. The legislature is now reviewing the governor’s budget proposal, which includes a $2,000 pay raise for teachers and a $1,000 pay raise for state employees making less than $40,000 per year.

Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black was blunt about what the cuts will mean for his department.

“Over the next 18 months, there will be fewer food safety inspections. There’ll be fewer animal industry inspections,” he said. “The span between fuel pump and scale inspections will grow, and the growing demand for meat inspections will have to shift to our federal partners.”

His department laid off six people and eliminated 25 unfilled part-time and full-time jobs.

The Public Service Commission (PSC), which regulates the state’s utilities, has to implement furlough days to meet the mandated reductions.

Lawmakers also heard about reductions to the state’s public defender program, including frozen vacancies and a statewide furlough day.

The Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities is cutting more than $80 million over the two fiscal years, which would mean a reduction in services for people in need.


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