Agencies also saw huge spending increases in the past year because of the record revenue flowing in, so holding the line in the coming year might not have a big impact.
The more than $30 billion in taxes the state collects helps it educate 2 million children, provide health care to more than 2 million Georgians, manage and improve parks, investigate crimes and incarcerate criminals, and regulate insurance firms, utilities and dozens of professions.
The state issues driver’s licenses and helps pay for nursing home care for the elderly.
The state is a major provider of treatment for mental health and drug addiction, and it helps fund public health programs that are fighting the coronavirus pandemic. Besides paying salaries, it helps make sure that hundreds of thousands of former teachers, university staffers and state employees receive pensions and health care.
Kemp’s message to state agencies to hold the line on spending is identical to what his predecessor, Gov. Nathan Deal, usually requested every year as Georgia recovered from the Great Recession.