New York legislators agreed to force 100,000 state workers to take an unpaid day off each week under an emergency spending plan that will keep the government running while lawmakers try to close a $9.2 billion budget gap.
Union leaders called Paterson’s furlough plan illegal last week. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Democrat of Manhattan, and Senate Democratic Leader John Sampson, of Brooklyn, said they agreed. Both said they would vote for the measure to avoid a government shutdown.
Because legislators can’t amend spending bills under state law, they couldn’t remove the furlough plan from Paterson’s sixth consecutive weekly emergency measure.
At least 75 percent of U.S. states have eliminated vacant government jobs and more than half have used layoffs or furloughs to close budget gaps since the recession began in December 2007, according to a compilation by Stateline.org, a nonprofit research group. In California, legal challenges have prevented Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger from implementing as many furloughs as he proposed.