BOSTON (AP) — Gov. Charlie Baker has ordered an immediate hiring freeze across state government as one of his first steps toward reducing a state budget deficit.

The Republican also announced on Friday — his first full day in office — that he has ordered cabinet secretaries to begin program-by-program reviews of all state agencies, and review all recent contract amendments and ongoing procurements.

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Baker says the state faces a deficit of more than $500 million for the fiscal year that ends July 1.

The hiring freeze requires agencies to withdraw current job postings and prohibits hiring of new contract workers.

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The administration says it expects the freeze to save $6.5 million in the current year.

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