Senate Republicans will push to cut spending in the chamber’s total legislative budget by 5 percent, or nearly $4.6 million from the current 2010-11 fiscal year.
“We’ll be spending significantly less than Democrats did when they were in the majority,” said Senate Republican spokesman Scott Reif.
The Republicans, who took the majority back from the Democrats after their sole term, will reduce also reduce the payroll of both their own and that of the Democrats.
Sen. Thomas Libous, R-Binghamton, the deputy majority leader, said this afternoon that Democratic lawmakers would be allotted a $350,000 budget, with ranking committee members receiving an extra $50,000 for staff.
The breakaway conference of independent Democrats, led by Jeff Klein of the Bronx, will receive an undetermined amount of money for staff since they are committee chairs. But it will likely be more than the $50,000 for ranking members.
The total allotment to the Democrats will be $15.2 million, Libous said, noting that Republicans were given $13.5 million two years ago when they fell into the minority.
“We’ve made significant payroll reductions to bring spending down appropriate levels and further reductions are ongoing,” said Austin Shafran, a Senate Democrats spokesman.
The GOP already knocked down the total payroll of the Democrats from $41 million to $28 million following a series of layoffs. Democrats must cut again to get to the $15.2 million by March 3.
This is more or less in line with what Libous told Gannett last week, when he said the payroll for the Democrats would have to be slashed by more than 40 percent.
Democrats have defended the extra spending, saying it was necessary following the legislative coup in 2009. The coup, which froze action in the chamber for weeks, also resulted in added money for the Republicans as well.
Senate Republicans have also charged that Democrats amassed a $14 million deficit, which Democrats claim is closer to $8 or $9 million. It remains unclear how that deficit will be closed, but the January layoffs saved about $4 million and Republicans may take part of their $4 million surplus to close the gap as well.