Gov. Brian Kemp’s administration says layoffs should be the last resort for state agencies trying to meet his call for budget cuts, but department heads have been contacting employees in recent weeks to tell them their jobs may be eliminated, or that they’ll have to take huge pay cuts.

In a couple of cases, Department of Corrections staffers would see their pay cut by more than half, while others would lose tens of thousands of dollars a year, according to agency plans. Some employees are having to consider lining up new jobs because they aren’t sure whether they can afford to continue working for the state.

Employment in state government — excluding the University System of Georgia — has dropped by about 17,000

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