Georgia ended its fiscal year with a $1.6 billion budget shortfall, money it will have to squeeze out of its spending in the coming fiscal year. As a result, state workers in numerous departments and agencies are facing layoffs, pay freezes and reduced hours.
Georgia’s Division of Family and Children Services and the state Department of Insurance and Fire Safety instituted mandatory unpaid furloughs. The Georgia Department of Transportation may lay off workers and delay projects to make up its deficit of $456 million.
The budget shortfall is trickling down to county governments too.
Camden County Sheriff Bill Smith ordered everyone on his staff to take a full week off without pay in October. Camden County Commissioner Charlene Sears acknowledged that the furloughs hurt morale in that office, but the alternative would have been firing people. “We decided, to be fair, that everyone would unfortunately feel the pain of this,” Sears told the Associated Press.