Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan pledged Wednesday to take a 14% pay cut in his salary to match what state agencies in Georgia are being asked to trim amid the coronavirus-prompted economic downturn.
State agencies are being asked to slice their budgets by 14% ahead of expected revenue shortfalls in Georgia of between $3 billion and $4 billion, as state lawmakers scramble to draft a budget for the 2021 fiscal year before a July 1 deadline.
The voluntary 14% reduction in Duncan’s annual salary rounds out to nearly $13,000. Georgia’s lieutenant governor currently makes about $91,000 per year.
In a statement Wednesday, Duncan framed the pay cut as a show of solidarity with state agencies and an example of how “it will be necessary for everyone to make sacrifices” as lawmakers craft the budget in the coming weeks.
“The fiscal impact of the coronavirus on our state’s budget is severe, and the General Assembly is tasked with making serious cuts to government services and programs, which will affect the lives of the Georgians we serve,” Duncan said.
“These are difficult times accompanied by a lot of uncertainty, but we are all a team, and meaningful savings will come as we work together to make the required adjustments,” he added.
The steep revenue decline has been fueled by drastic slowdowns in economic activity among several economic sectors in Georgia like travel, tourism, logistics, hospitality and food service.
Around 10% of the state’s workforce primarily in the hospitality and food-service industries has filed for unemployment benefits in recent weeks, marking an extraordinary uptick in out-of-work Georgians.
Last week, top budget-writing lawmakers in the General Assembly directed state agencies to hand in proposals by May 20 for how to make across-the-board cuts totaling up to $3.8 billion.
Those reductions will almost certainly bring painful impacts for state agencies that could result in scaled-back services and layoffs.
Critics of the 14% cut in spending have called for state lawmakers to instead raise revenues via taxes and by ending certain tax exemptions.
Meanwhile, a letter asking Congress to release $500 billion in federal funds to help prop up state budgets in Georgia and across the U.S. was sent Monday by House Appropriations Committee Chairman Terry England, R-Auburn, and Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Blake Tillery, R-Vidalia.
The General Assembly is poised to resume the 天天乐棋牌 legislative session in mid-June with the budget as the main focus.