Despite the prospect of exploding budget gaps in the future, Albany has taken only modest steps toward streamlining state government, such as closing a few prisons and offering $20,000 buyouts to state employees.

In contrast, the Rhode Island governor and leaders of public employee unions tentatively have agreed to 12 payless furlough days (equivalent to a 4.5 percent pay cut) and postponing for six month their next scheduled pay hike.

Nationwide, Stateline.org reports “More and more state leaders from both political parties are talking about changing the face of state government as the recession severely limits the services states can offer.”

“Indiana will have fewer dollars to work with in 2011 than we did in 2007,” Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) recently told a gathering of state capitol reporters in Indianapolis, according to The Statesman-Journal of Salem, Ore. “That says you cannot have the same government you had, unless you plan to go broke.”

“Mitch Daniels is right,” Oregon’s Democratic governor, Ted Kulongoski, told the newspaper.

But as Stateline.org points out savings can be modest.

And Kulongoski’s counterpart to the north, Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire (D), found out that lawmakers aren’t always willing to go along with “streamlining.” Gregoire earlier this year proposed eliminating a third of the state’s nearly 500 citizen boards and commissions; the legislature got rid of just 18 of them, while Gregoire eliminated another 50 by executive order….

(snip)

While state and local workforces are shrinking, they are doing so at a rate of only about 1 percent, The Christian Science Monitor noted. That pales in comparison to what is happening in other sectors of the economy. But with state and local workforces growing substantially over the past two decades and localities traditionally reluctant to thin their police and firefighter ranks, “even modest reductions are causing…a stir,” The Monitor said.

Originally Published: NY Public Payroll Watch

You may also like

Hochul’s agenda mostly sidesteps health care

Governor Hochul gave health care surprisingly little attention in her State of the State speech on Tuesday – a sign that taking on dysfunction in one-sixth of the state's economy ranks low on her list of priorities. Read More

Federal omnibus deal has big implications for New York Medicaid

The big spending bill heading for a vote in Washington this week would scramble the outlook for Medicaid in next year's state budget, mostly for the better. The $1.7 trillion federa Read More

New York’s Medicaid costs are soaring at double-digit rates

New York's already high Medicaid spending is growing at a double-digit rate for the second year in a row, recently released state figures show. After dipping during the first year o Read More

Budget’s Historic Spending Hike Shown in Financial Plan Update

Amidst spiking inflation, a market downturn and recession fears, state spending will soar to new heights under the April budget deal, as per (Plan) that the Governor’s budget office quietly i Read More

Minimum wage for home care aides is likely to mean bigger raises for downstate than upstate

The newly enacted wage hike for home care aides is likely to increase workers' pay more than three times as much in the New York City area as in other parts of the state, according to a review of labor data. Read More

The flawed arguments behind ‘Fair Pay for Home Care’

As they contemplate a major increase in Medicaid spending on home care for the elderly and disabled, state legislators are relying on information that's outdated, incomplete or inaccurate – and neglecting to think through the predictable consequences. Read More

The debate over Medicaid home-care funding needs a reality check

The push in Albany to boost wages for home health aides is seemingly disconnected from the larger realities of the state’s long-term care system. As they , officials in the home care industry are warning that the state faces an of in-home caregivers Read More

Answers needed on Governor Hochul’s health-care budget

The health-care agenda laid out by Governor Hochul in her budget proposal this week leaves a lot of questions unanswered. Here are a few of them. Read More

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!