Gov. Brian Kemp will ask state agencies to cut their budgets by 11%, rather than the 14% first planned, he announced Wednesday, June 3.
State agencies had submitted proposals for 14% cuts, with local public schools, the University of North Georgia, courts and other services such as the Division of Family and Children Services and public safety agencies facing spending decreases. The cuts were intended to help the state recover from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kemp said in a statement Wednesday that the pandemic has “squeezed state revenues, just like the wallets of hard-working Georgians.” However, he said he was hopeful about the state’s economic recovery.
“Our state is positioned to weather this storm better than most. The foundation of our economy is strong and ready for consumer confidence to return,” Kemp said.
Kemp said education, health care and public safety would be budget priorities.
“With the closing of schools, Georgia families have a renewed appreciation for our teachers, counselors, specialists and staff. These men and women are unsung heroes,” he said. “… Now more than ever, we see that access to quality, affordable health care is essential and life-saving. There’s no doubt we owe a huge debt of gratitude to our doctors, nurses and frontline workers and above all, we must continue to put patients first.”
He said addressing human trafficking and gangs was another priority.
“We must reaffirm our commitment to keep all Georgians safe,” he said.
Kemp said he would send an updated revenue estimate to the chairmen of the Georgia House of Representatives and Georgia State Senate’s appropriations committees.
“While near-term state revenue collections are uncertain, we are seeing reassuring signs of fiscal resilience in our state,” he said.
The state’s fiscal year restarts July 1.