Northam orders hiring freeze, agency heads to look for cuts

Virginia News

FILE – In this March 11, 2020 file photo, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam gestures as Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney, back, listens during a news conference at the Capitol in Richmond, Va. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam is instituting a hiring freeze of state employees and is telling agency heads to look for ways to cut budgets in response to the coronavirus.

Northam chief of staff Clark Mercer told agency heads in a Thursday memo obtained by The Associated Press that a recession is coming and the state revenues will be far below “even our most pessimistic forecast” from last year.

On top of that, Mercer said, the state is having to spend heavily on buying medical supplies, helping vulnerable populations navigate the pandemic, and other virus-related costs.

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