November 8th is now set as the date of a “special” legislative session to deal with the state’s budget woes.
Governor Tom Vilsack will make his four-point-three percent across-the-board cut in the state budget effective November 1st. Vilsack and legislative leaders will meet this afternoon to discuss how to restore some or all the cuts in public defense, public safety and K-through-12 state aid.
Vilsack’s across-the-board will cut trim about 200-million dollars from the state budget. It’d take three million to restore the cuts in public safety and defense, and legislators support that move. However, it would take another 80-million to fill the cuts made in K-through-12 education, and Vilsack’s becoming resigned to the idea not all of that will be restored. He says it will be difficult to find that money. Vilsack is hinting he may have other ideas up his sleeve. He says there’s opportunity to re-align and improve government, and he hopes to make some announcements in the coming weeks on such changes.
The Governor’s department of personnel director met Sunday with representatives of AFSCME, the largest union for state workers.
Talks are centering over a delayed pay raise, as well as early retirement incentives to get high-salary workers off the payroll.
If concessions aren’t reached, there could be hundreds of layoffs in state government. Last budget year, the state laid off 150 workers.