Unlike other states, New York has avoided massive layoffs and furloughs of public employees to close recurring budget gaps. That could change.

Newsday reports:

Gov. David A. Paterson and some lawmakers are raising the specter of furloughs – and even layoffs – of state workers to help close the growing budget deficit, as other big states have done.

“We’ve not had to furlough or lay off any workers, but the means of balancing budgets are becoming less and less available, and everything is on the table,” Paterson said recently.

So far, the governor has put nothing on the table when it comes to closing what had been a $2.1 billion budget gap in July, which he now pegs at $3 billion. Back in July, Paterson promised he would propose a “Program to Eliminate the Gap” (PEG) by early fall. As E.J. McMahon of the Empire Center writes:

It’s early fall — so where’s the PEG? How much, specifically, should the Legislature reduce school aid?

How about forcing action, for once, on Medicaid? And what’s happened to the promised cost-saving reforms to New York’s unaffordably generous public pensions?

Paterson keeps talking about the need for reductions, but has yet to publicly propose any. Instead, he’s been squandering precious time, claiming he would prefer to reach some budgetary consensus with the nation’s most discredited and dysfunctional Legislature.

Instead of layoffs and furloughs, New York has cut personnel costs through attrition, not filling vacant positions and a $20,000 buyout incentive offered to members of two public employee unions.

Just over 1,000 employees have been approved for the buyout, significantly fewer than the 4,500 expected by the Paterson administration. State agencies were reluctant to offer more buyouts, because they could not hire replacement workers. According to the Public Employees Federation, 400 members applied for a buyout, but were rejected.

Originally Published: NY Public Payroll Watch

You may also like

Meanwhile, on the mandate relief front

Governor Cuomo’s 2012-13 budget, to be presented later today, will command media attention for the rest of the week. Advance reports on his modified pension reform proposal are especially promising. Meanwhile, there’s a (fiscally) cost-free approach to helping local governments and school districts alleviate their budget problems: repealing the Triborough Amendment. Read More

Legislature rejects union arbitration cap

Governor Cuomo’s proposal to cap arbitration awards for police and firefighters is not included in the Senate or Assembly budget bills. This may be blessing in disguise: as argued here, Cuomo’s original proposal didn’t go nearly far enough. Since the arbitration law expires on June 30, the governor remains in a commanding position to demand more. Read More

Labor costs rose faster in public sector in ‘09

Employee compensation in the state and local government sector increased at twice the private-sector rate during the 12 months ending in December, according to national data released todayby the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. Read More

Getting Triborough wrong

“Mandate relief remains elusive,” is one of the state-related headlines in today’s Albany Times Union — and that much, at least, is true. Unfortunately, the articlebeneath the headline repeats a familiar canard about the origins of the Triborough Amendment. Read More

Persuading co-workers to retire

Oneida County employees participating in a proposed cash buyout program would have a strong incentive to get their co-workers to join them: their payments will increase if more employees participate. Read More

Examining MDs

Should physicians, who are licensed by the state of New York, be required to take a civil service exam in order to work for the state of New York? A state judge thinks so, but that's unlikely to be the last word on the controversy. Read More

Teaching without contracts

As schools open, the number of school districts at impasse with teacher unions has increased by 12 percent since a year ago, according to the Public Employment Relations Board. Also noteworthy--although not emphasized by PERB--nearly one out of three school districts has yet to negotiate a new contract with its teachers. Read More

Car 54, where are you?

New York City will track the whereabouts of its 379 building inspectors with GPS technology installed, not in their city-issued vehicles, but in their cell phones. Read More

Subscribe

Sign up to receive updates about Empire Center research, news and events in your email.

CONTACT INFORMATION

Empire Center for Public Policy
30 South Pearl St.
Suite 1210
Albany, NY 12207

Phone: 518-434-3100

General Inquiries: Info@EmpireCenter.org

Press Inquiries: Press@EmpireCenter.org

About

The Empire Center is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit think tank located in Albany, New York. Our mission is to make New York a better place to live and work by promoting public policy reforms grounded in free-market principles, personal responsibility, and the ideals of effective and accountable government.

Empire Center Logo Enjoying our work? Sign up for email alerts on our latest news and research.
Together, we can make New York a better place to live and work!