Thursday, January 20, 2011

New York: Gov. Cuomo considers eliminating 15000 state jobs

ALBANY — Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is considering reducing the state workforce by up to 15,000 workers in his budget, the largest cut to the government payroll in recent years, two people briefed on the plan said Wednesday night.

The prospective cuts are likely to accompany large reductions in Medicaid and state education spending, those people said, as Mr. Cuomo and his administration seek to close a projected budget gap of more than $9 billion.

But the cuts would represent a substantial downsizing of the state’s workforce, including clerical workers, state troopers and park rangers. And that belt-tightening would almost certainly be accompanied by noticeable reductions in government services, though it is hard to predict where and how much until Mr. Cuomo releases his proposed budget in early February.

Mr. Cuomo has made trimming the state’s far-flung bureaucracy a top priority of his new administration, hoping to reduce costs to taxpayers and root out waste. Along with Medicaid and education spending, money for so-called “state operations,” including payroll, health and pension benefits, is one of the larger portions of spending borne directly by New York taxpayers.

But layoffs of the magnitude the governor is considering are likely to spur a major counterattack from unions that represent state workers, who have in recent years agreed to concessions that would reduce long-term pension costs but sharply resisted calls by Mr. Cuomo’s predecessor, David A. Paterson, to agree to downsizing the state workforce or other cost-saving measures.
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