State implements cost-saving measures
State agencies are being told to find cuts to their budgets to help offset the lack of revenue and extra expenses due to COVID-19. The news was discussed as part of the update Friday (May 22) by Gov. Eric Holcomb, who said state offices could see the reductions in their budgets for the upcoming new fiscal year.
Indiana’s Fiscal Year 2020 ends June 30, and the governor’s administration has already announced other cost-saving measures, such as putting $291 million allocated to several capital projects on hold or delaying approximately $65 million that was supposed to be used for the state’s Next Level Trails grants and another $110 million of deferred maintenance projects, including $70 million for state parks.
Chris Johnston, director of Indiana Office of Management & Budget, said the state will likely rely on budget cuts, spending its reserves and relying on federal assistance to bridge any gaps Indiana’s budget faces. He added more changes can be made by the legislature when it reconvenes in January.
It was reported Friday the state’s unemployment rate is at 16.9%, with the national rate at 14.7%. Fred Payne, commissioner of Indiana’s Department of Workforce Development, said this is the state’s highest unemployment rate since 1982 when it was at 12.6%.
For Friday, the state reported 493 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the state’s total to 30,409. Indiana had 27 new deaths, bringing the total to 1,791. There are also another 150 Hoosiers health experts believe died of the disease but a test was never performed.
To date, Indiana has seen 208,561 COVID-19 tests performed. There were 5,605 people tested in the past 24 hours.