Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers announced Monday morning that “massive layoffs” will be one result in how the legislature copes with a roughly $1 billion shortfall in expected revenue for next year’s budget.
“I’m not going to sugarcoat the situation we’re in. Yeah, there will be massive layoffs,” said Rogers, a Woodstock Republican.
He wouldn’t say how many state workers could lose their jobs. One idea being investigated is offering an incentive for the 8,000 workers already eligible for retirement to give up their jobs.
Rogers met with reporters during his weekly press conference at the Capitol. Asked if last week’s round of hearings about the painful cuts possible for state agencies was a way to make tax increases politically palatable, Rogers said not from the Senate leadership’s point of view.
“We’re not looking at any tax increases at all,” he said. “We’re looking at cuts, cuts, cuts.”
Since the state is already among the lowest in government spending per citizen, there is little fluff to be cut from the budget, and the remaining cuts will be painful, he said.
Later in the day, the University System of Georgia was scheduled to release a list of cuts it would make if lawmakers trim another $300 million from funding for the 35 public colleges and universities. Rogers said if the Board of Regents lays off employees to meet those cuts, it will not be because lawmakers specified personnel reductions.
“(The regents) will have to make that decision for themselves,” he said.