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Sayward, Little to vote against furloughs

May 10, 2010
By NATHAN BROWN, Enterprise Staff Writer

LAKE PLACID - Local state Sen. Betty Little and Assemblywoman Teresa Sayward both say they will vote against the latest state budget extender bills, which include furloughs for about 100,000 state workers.

"It's our responsibility to get the budget passed," Sayward, R-Willsboro, said Saturday. "The people who do the work on the ground shouldn't make sacrifices" because the budget's late, Sayward said.

The latest round of extender bills, which would include the furloughs, is supposed to be introduced today. The state has been funded with these bills ever since April 1, which is when the budget was supposed to have passed. Gov. David Paterson proposed the one-day-a-week furloughs, which would begin the week of May 17, after unions refused his earlier requests for lag pay and suspending scheduled 4-percent raises.

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Little, R-Queensbury, also said she plans to vote against the extenders.

Paterson wants $250 million in concessions from unions to close a $9 billion budget deficit and has said he will stop the furloughs if unions agree to other concessions.

The state's government would shut down if the extender bills don't pass, which, Sayward said, might be what needs to be done to get the parties to the table to negotiate the state budget.

Senate Democratic Leader John Sampson has said he opposes the furloughs but would vote for the bills rather than see the government shut down.

Workers will lose one day of work and pay for each week the state operates on these bills, if it passes. Agencies would not be allowed to use overtime to cover the workers' absence, and workers couldn't use vacation, sick or other time to cover the days. Protests are planned for today in cities throughout the state, including Albany and Watertown, and state worker unions are planning a lawsuit if the furloughs pass, saying it would be an illegal breach of contract.

State troopers, corrections officers, nurses and other personnel deemed essential for health and public safety would not be furloughed. Management workers would also not be included, Paterson's justification being that they haven't received raises for the past two years. Community college workers are considered county employees and would also be exempt.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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