The state may reduce up to 15,000 jobs as it grapples with an estimated $10 billion budget deficit.
Reports published today say Gov. Andrew Cuomo is mulling the layoffs in order to close the gap for the 2011-12 fiscal year, which begins April 1.
Cuomo, a Democrat, has said he wants to close the deficit without increasing taxes or borrowing money.
Josh Vlasto, a spokesman for the governor, did not confirm how many people would be eventually laid off.
“The Governor has not finalized his executive budget so any speculation is premature,” Vlasto said. “Unfortunately, as the Governor has said, given that the state is going through its worst fiscal crisis since the 1970’s, large cuts and shared sacrificed will be required in order to close the $10 billion budget gap.”
If Cuomo does propose massive layoffs in his budget, the plan is sure to be opposed by public-employee unions.
The governor is also likely to propose deep cuts to Medicaid and education aid, the state’s two biggest expenses. He also wants to freeze state workers’ pay for one year.
Cuomo has said he wants a fundamental reorganization of how the state spends in its money as it weathers a prolonged fiscal crisis.
Cuomo’s proposed budget is due to be released Feb. 1.
It is unclear how much money the layoffs would save the state.
Cuomo’s predecessor, Gov. David Paterson, successfully pushed through the elimination of about 900 jobs after state officials and public employee unions failed to agree on a $250 million workforce reduction plan that included a furloughs.
The state workforce stands at about 130,000.
Cuomo is trying to drum up support for his agenda by traveling around the state. He is appearing at Marist College in Poughkeepsie today following trips to Jamestown in western New York and Watertown in the North Country.