Republican legislators are proposing unpaid furloughs for every state worker. State employees would have half-a-day of unpaid leave every two weeks — saving the state two million dollars every two-week pay cycle. Senate President Mary Kramer, a republican from West Des Moines says they understand that furloughs cause pain for employees, and “They regret that that’s necessary.” The furloughs would cover all 50-thousand state workers, including those who work for the state universities, and would be in effect for the next 16 months. She says cutting across the board however would cause layoffs, and a job with a little less take home is still a job. Kramer says they’re hopeful the economy will come out of its valley.House Republican Leader Christopher Rants of Sioux City says state workers, though, shouldn’t think they’re being singled out. Rants says there are a lot of Iowans that’re being laid off across the state. He says it’s not something that’s only happening to state government, and they’re trying to manage the downturn while keeping people employed.House Speaker Brent Siegrist, a republican from Council Bluffs, says republicans want selected cuts in the state budget, not an across-the-board cut that’d be equal in all agencies. He says, “We’re not playing the scare game. It’s unfortunate the governor is spending the week traveling the state trying to scare everybody and his brother.” Siegrist says if the governor works with them, they can work it out. The president of the largest state workers’ union says she’s “outraged” by the Republicans’ furlough proposal. AFSCME president Jan Corderman says furloughs are a “cheap trick” for republicans to use since unionized workers already agreed to delay a scheduled pay increase for four months in order to save money and jobs. She says legislators like Rants are still getting their full per diem while they make comments about furloughing state workers.Legislators reduced the number of days they get expense money from 100 to 90, but have not cut their own pay.
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