Paterson: Plans for State Worker Layoffs Should Start Soon

Tuesday, Jul 27, 2010  |  Updated 12:17 PM EDT
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New York Governor David Paterson attends a town hall meeting at Borough Hall March 8, 2010 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. The embattled governor took questions on the sputtering economy and the 2010-2011 state budget. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

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Gov. David Paterson says plans for the layoff of thousands of state workers need to begin soon, as the state grapples with a massive deficit, still lacking a budget that was due April 1.

I think the planning for layoffs is going to have to begin immediately,” Paterson said yesterday.   He told reporters: "I don’t know what the date would be that we would have to have layoffs, but since the workforce would not negotiate a lag period — which would have been a shared sacrifice for everybody — or a furlough — which would have been a process where everyone gave a little so everyone could stay working — some unfortunate people who don’t deserve it are going to get laid off."

Paterson has been calling for concessions from state worker unions, including a delay in a 4 percent raise that was scheduled to kick in April 1.

The leading candidates for governor of both major parties — Andrew M. Cuomo, a Democrat, and Rick A. Lazio, a Republican, have signaled that they would seek to shrink the state’s work force if elected.

State leaders are facing a $9.2 billion deficit this year and still haven't completed a budget for the fiscal year that began April 1. 

Paterson was asked if he would look at the Legislature’s refusal to take up his revenue bills when lawmakers return on Wednesday as a slap in the face.

“I think it’s already a slap in the face, but it’s not personal,” he said. “It’s not my face they’re slapping. It’s the faces of the people of the state of New York.”

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