After attempts at delaying pay raises and implementing furloughs didn’t work, Gov. David Paterson confirmed this morning he will seek layoffs in the state workforce starting Jan. 1 to achieve $250 million in budget savings.
Paterson is limited by a no-layoff pledge he made last year with unions in order to get a less generous pension tier for new state employees. But Paterson questioned whether the agreement is binding, and also vowed to put the layoff plan in place by Jan. 1—when the no-layoff pledge would end.
It would be up to the next governor to execute the layoff plan, though Paterson said he will have the process in place and the jobs on the chopping block identified by the time he leaves office at year’s end. He is not seeking election; a new governor will be elected in November.
He did not indicate how many jobs would be impacted.
“I want this ready to go on Jan. 1 so the next governor has this option, should the next governor choose to use it,” Paterson said.
Paterson has been at odds with unions all year after they have rejected his attempts to achieve $250 million in concessions in the current 2010-11 fiscal year, which started April 1. Paterson and lawmakers have yet to reach an agreement on a budget, so they have been passing one-week extenders to keep state government operating.
Last week, Paterson’s plan to furlough state workers one-day-a-week for eight weeks was rejected in courts. He also sought to delay 4 percent raises that unionized public workers are scheduled to receive, but that was also rejected in the courts.