Mandated furlough

PhillyBurbs.com had this today:

Burlington County’s representatives in the state Legislature agree that significant action must be taken to “rebalance” the current fiscal year budget, but the lawmakers disagree about whether Gov. Jon Corzine’s proposed measures are the best solutions to the crisis. Corzine announced Tuesday that lower than expected revenues have created an estimated $2.8 billion budget deficit in the fiscal year that started July 1. He proposed a two-day furlough for state workers and other spending cuts plus the creation of a Tax Amnesty Program to close the deficit.

Finally the governor is making the tough decisions. Hopefullythe unions will not be foolish and play hard ball. Corzine is asking all state employees to take a two day furlough. The hitch is that the salaries are set. State employees are not paid by the hour, or day, or week. They are not paid a wage, but a salary.

The furloughs would have to be approved by the unions, as the salaries are set by contract. Corzine is asking that all employees take what would be a pro-rated unpaid two day leave. There are literally hundreds of thousands of public employees in the state. Since their salaries are totally paid by taxpayers, the savings could add up to a substantial amount.

The unions, however, are balking, not content that public employees get 30 or more paid days off every year and mandated wage increases on the taxpayers’ back while private sector employees see wage freezes, cuts, lay-offs and more – the union want only to rape the taxpayers for every penny.

“We are adjusting almost everything else in the budget,” he said. “We think we need to have some fair sharing of this [from the employees].”

But Hetty Rosenstein, New Jersey state director for the Communications Workers of America, said the furloughs would violate the union’s collective-bargaining agreement.

“The actual dollars that will be saved by furloughing state workers will provide little relief to the state, but will cause a tremendous hardship for our members who live paycheck to paycheck and whose wages go directly back into the economy,” she said.

This is a rare occasion that we fully support Corzine in this reasonable effort to staunch the bleeding. Two days pay will be a discomfort – but Hetty Rosenstein, with her huge salary  does not have to face the problems of many New Jersey residents losing their houses or struggling to pay their heating bills because they have NO job.

Maybe Corzine should play hard ball, and lay off thousands of State employees and save a lot more money. The public unions have never learned the art of compromise, it is time for them to start to consider the taxpayers that pay their way.

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