Union reacts to Governor's proposed layoffs: What's ahead for state workers

Reaction continues to Governor Cuomo's proposed $133 billion budget proposal, which calls for reduced spending and cuts to education and Medicaid. The plan also includes up to 9,800 layoffs of state workers.

Today, critics are denouncing spending cuts in the governor's proposed budget. Public Employees Federation president Kenneth Brynien says proposed cuts to public sector jobs would "cripple public services." The Healthcare Association of New York State says proposed cuts to Medicaid will devastate some hospitals.

Locally, there is strong reaction as well. This morning, Mark Kotzin, local CSEA spokesperson appeared on Today in Central New York, saying he hopes to work with the governor when the union contract expires at the end of march to come up with solutions.

"We offered solutions in the meantime outside of the negotiations that could have saved a lot of the problems that we're facing now. The governor wasn't interested in doing that," Kotzin said. "So we will talk at the bargaining table. That's the appropriate place to talk."

Kotzin says he is encouraged that the new governor understands the concept of negotiations and hopes to work together to help solve the state's budget crisis.

Meanwhile, New York's public college students and their families won't see a tuition increase or a cut in the state's financial aid program next semester under Gov. Andrew Cuomo's budget proposal. But they may still feel a lot of pain.

In his budget proposal to the Legislature Tuesday, Cuomo said he was pleased to announce he isn't proposing a tuition increase for the State University of New York or City University of New York. But the budget does contain a 10-percent cut to the public universities, after SUNY and CUNY were dealt state aid cutbacks totaling as much as 30 percent over the last three years. State aid to community colleges would also be cut by 10 percent.

Lawmakers will spend the next several months debating the budget and making changes to Cuomo's proposals. The deadline to pass the state budget is April 1st.

Update 2:35 pm Tuesday:

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is getting ready to propose a budget of pain.

A state official with knowledge of a private meeting between Cuomo and legislative leaders Monday night said Cuomo is considering cuts of 2 percent to 3 percent in school aid and in Medicaid and is proposing as many as 10,000 state layoffs.

A Cuomo official wouldn't comment.

The official says Cuomo discussed the rare cuts as true reductions from current funding levels. Annual state school aid is about $21 billion. The Medicaid health care program for the poor and working poor costs more than $50 billion.

The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because discussion during the executive mansion meeting Monday night wasn't supposed to be released before Cuomo's budget address Tuesday.

Here's how Central New York leaders are reacting to the 2011-2012 budget proposal.

S enator John DeFrancisco (R), the chair of the Senate Finance Committee, said he would support Governor Cuomo's efforts. "He's doing what he has to do, I think the right thing to do, namely cut government spending. Its not increasing spending, like the last two years with very bad leadership, he's being a leader."

Assemblyman Bill Magnarelli (D) said, "We'll be talking about it over the next month or two, and if we have to make changes, we'll make changes." When asked about the State Senate passing a 2% cap on property taxes Magnarelli said it would have to be accompanied by mandate relief.

Republican State Senator Mike Nozzolio said, "I support the fact there are no new taxes in this budget and that it's going to hold the line on spending, but we need to ensure that New York comes off the precipice of economic ruin and straightens out its fiscal house."

Democrat Assemblyman Sam Roberts who was just appointed to the labor committee was asked about Cuomo's plan to layoff 9,800 state workers. Roberts said, "I understand that everyone has to feel the pain across the board, but I just have a problem with balancing the budget on the backs of the workers.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

Update 10:55 am Tuesday:

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has released his proposed budget a couple of hours before his 1:00 speech. He is proposing a $132.9 billion budget that relies on expanded lottery play, some fee increases, a few one-shot revenue raisers and as many as 9,800 state layoffs.

The 2011-12 proposed budget, however, includes no new taxes and no new borrowing. Cuomo's budget calls for a 2 percent cut in Medicaid funding and a 2.9 percent cut in state school aid.

The plan seeks to balance the need to address what could be a deficit of more than $10 billion.

CNY Central's Jim Kenyon says the 2010 State Workforce Management Report by the Civil Service department shows that the state could shed as many as 10,700 jobs without one layoff. That's one year's attrition. The report shows there's room to eliminate far more jobs with a modest early retirement program.

We want to know what you think should be cut from the state budget. Leave a comment below to give us your opinion, and vote in the poll at the bottom of this story.

Original Story:

S ome are calling it the "budget of pain".

Governor Andrew Cuomo will unveil his 2011-2012 state budget plan at 1:00 today. He's expected to call for cuts of 2-3% in school aid and in Medicaid, while proposing as many as 10,000 state layoffs.

The budget is expected to total $135 billion and address a deficit estimated at $10 billion. This information emerged from a private meeting between Cuomo and legislative leaders Monday night. However, a Cuomo official would not comment.

A spokesperson for State Senator Dave Valesky says Cuomo will release details of his budget to the state legislature later this morning.

CNY Central's Jim Kenyon is in Albany and will have reaction from Valesky, State Senator John DeFrancisco and others throughout the day.

You can watch the governor's state budget address live here on as well as on CNY Central TV (over the air digital channel 3.3 or Time Warner Cable channel 864).