Boom years over, states eye smaller workforces

Essential government agencies are short staffed, hindering their ability to fulfill basic services.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom discusses his proposed state budget for the 2024-2025 fiscal year, during a news conference in Sacramento, Calif., Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2024. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

New budget constraints are forcing governors in three states to pause hiring state workers after four years of pandemic-era surpluses, raising new concerns about the ability of government agencies to carry out their missions.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), facing billions in budget shortfalls, proposed a new spending plan in May that would freeze hiring for 10,000 vacant state positions. Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey (D) in April cited a decline in tax revenues when she issued a hiring freeze through the end of the fiscal year in June.

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