Nearly 100,000 state employees may soon find themselves forced to take an unpaid day off each week.
Gov. David Paterson said yesterday he would include the weekly furlough in his next emergency spending bill and keep it until the 2010–2011 budget — now one month late — is passed.
“I do not take this action lightly, but it is necessary given the unions’ unwillingness to make any sacrifices and I will do whatever is necessary to protect New York’s finances,” he said.
Since the bill is all or nothing, it forces legislators to chose between these unionized state workers or shut down the government entirely — something lawmakers pledged not to do. The state would reportedly save $70 million a week under the plan.
In addressing the state’s $9.2 billion budget hole, Paterson had tried to squeeze $250 million in savings from public employees unions, but legislators have not budged.
State Senate Democratic Conference Leader John Sampson called the forced furloughs “basically illegal,” but said he would approve the next emergency extension rather than shut down the state government.