At least 10,000 state workers could be facing the ax under a budget plan being considered by Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Sources tell NY1 that Cuomo’s budget, which will be released early next month, could include layoffs as part of his blueprint to bridge the state’s budget gap, which is more than $9 billion.
When asked about potential layoffs today, the governor cautioned that the state is in a dire financial situation.
"We’re going to have to make corrections,” said Cuomo. “We shouldn't have been doing this for years, by the way. We’ve been spending too much money for years. But it has to stop now, and there is going to be no doubt a period of short-term pain as we make these adjustments."
Cuomo is also expected to make large cuts to the Medicaid program and reduce education spending.
The layoffs would be the largest cuts made to the state’s workforce in decades and would represent a cut of about five percent of the roughly 200,000 people who work for the state.
The state’s public employee unions say a cut of that size would cripple the delivery of essential services and have a chilling effect on the state’s economy.
Both the Public Employees Federation and the Civil Service Employees Association say they’ve tried to initiate talks with the governor’s office to address his concerns, but to no avail.
Labor leaders say they're frustrated to find out secondhand of the governor's downsizing plans.
"We certainly would like to know a whole lot more about what the governor has in mind here and we think it would have been much more constructive if there had been some sort of dialogue about this before it gets leaked to the press," said CSEA Spokesman Stephen Madarasz.
As the governor deals with pushback from the unions he’s also getting it from members of his own party in the State Assembly, who argue a $10 billion deficit can’t be closed completely by cuts.
"I suspect we’re not going to be able to meet our goals. Somewhere along the line there’s going to have to be a compromise," said Assemblyman Jack McEneny.
During a breakfast meeting Wednesday with Cuomo, several Assembly Democrats made it clear they think it’s necessary to extend a tax on the wealthy past its December expiration. But lawmakers say the governor has taken the stance that it’s either his way or the highway.
"I don’t’ support new taxes. That’s my position," Cuomo said. "Some of them do support new taxes and that’s a difference of opinion."
One Assembly member present at the Wednesday breakfast says the governor is also pushing them to quickly pass his ethics plan that would require complete disclosure of legislators outside income, saying it would “look good” if they got this done soon.