SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV)- Georgia Governor Brian Kemp is pushing state agencies to cut down on their spending.
Next year the proposed budget calls for 300-million-dollars in combined cuts with the Department of Human services taking the hardest hit.
DHS oversees child welfare, elder abuse prevention, and even food stamp programs. These cuts would eliminate hundreds of jobs and numerous services that are vital to foster kids and low-income families.
The Greenbriar Children’s Center in Savannah works with DFACS to care for children, many of them have been through serious trauma.
“If we invest in them in the earliest stages of life then we may not have to repair them as young adults, as teenagers, or adults,” said Gena Taylor, Executive Director of the Greenbriar Children Center,” that becomes much more expensive.”
Gena Taylor works hand-in-hand with government agencies providing mental health services and emergency housing for children experiencing abuse.
“We collaborate with the local DFACS office in order to provide these services,” said Taylor. “We do need those case managers and those children also need those case managers.”
Under Governor kemps orders, state agencies were forced to cut four percent of their budget—-more than 200 vacant positions at DFACs offices all across the state were eliminated.
Amanda Hollowell with the Georgia Policy and Budget Institute said this will impact rural communities the most.
“The fact that you cant expand or hire on people means fewer opportunities to have more people work those cases outside of the metro Atlanta area,” said Hollowell.
Hollowell said an income tax cut in 2018 meant to give teachers a pay raise slowed down the economy. Hurricane Michael also hit in the same year.
She said it’s on lawmakers to figure how to make up the difference by generating revenue and making some tough calls.
“The house has passed their budget recommendations for the cuts, it’s now in the senate,” said Hollowell. “It’s gonna be on our lawmakers to really decide about those services needed and make sure they are representing their constituents based on those needs.”
Many of these cuts have already taken effect and will continue into the next fiscal year. Other state departments impacted include the Georgia State Patrol, Public health, and Corrections.