Almost 800 workers would be laid off under budget-cutting plans revealed early this afternoon.
The directors of state agencies submitted plans for dealing with the governor’s 10 percent, across-the-board cut in the state budget. Those plans call for eliminating more than 1,300 jobs in the executive branch of state government; 529 of those positions are vacant, however, meaning no one would have to be sent a pink slip. But layoff notices would be delivered to 791 state workers if the governor approves the plans.
In a written statement, Governor Culver these proposals represent a “starting line, not the finish line.” Culver said his goal is “to do everything we can to preserve essential services and minimize layoffs.”
He hinted that reopening contract negotiations with the unions for state workers — and getting union approval of salary reductions — would be one way to avoid some of the layoffs. A statement from the leadership of AFSCME Council 61 — the union which represents the largest share of state workers — offered few clues as to whether the union would be open to salary reductions as a means of avoiding massive layoffs.
The job reductions announced today do not apply to the other two branches of state government, the legislative and judicial branches. The state universities are part of the executive branch, but did not submit their job reduction plans today.