Chief Medical Examiner Charles Hirsch told the City Council Wednesday that a 27% cut in funding would force him to lay off 300 workers, which cuts his staff in half.
That means a delay in response times to crime scenes and furthermore, delay the issue of a death certificate and proper burial according to religious tradition. "It's considered a desecration of the deceased dignity to keep their body waiting in a refrigerator somewhere while the medical examiner waits to get paperwork done" Rabbi Daniel Nevins of the Jewish Theological Seminary said.
"It seems very cruel and not really that ethical" Ellen Eisenstadt said.
According to Jewish faith, the dead must be buried the same day before sundown and while there are exceptions, those in the Jewish community don't think the state's tightening of purse strings is one of them. Muslims share similar burial rules, and at the Islamic Cultural Center of New York, worshipers were disturbed by the news.
"The city has to think about it, is it necessary and the importance, they have to think" Nurul Sharkel said.
New York faces a $16 billion budget gap and Gov. Paterson has proposed budget cuts across the board. But, not everyone in the City Council is playing along.
"I just think its nuts we know people are worried about budget cuts when they are alive can you imagine elderly people having to worry about them when they are dead," Councilman Simcha Felder (D-Brooklyn) said.
Not everyone in the Jewish community are calling foul.
"I'd rather not have schools have budget cuts, and public transportation not cut," Adina Obler said.
Councilman Felder plans to send his sentiment to Albany asking for them to reconsider the cuts and is asking New Yorkers to do the same.