The initial reports on the agreement for the Fy ’10 budget reached on Friday between legislative leaders and the Governor were positive – due to the availability of over $600 million in federal stimulus dollars, key education, health care, and public safety agencies received flat funding or increases to cover mandatory costs without recourse to the Rainy Day Fund or tax increases. While most agencies were hit with budget cuts of 7 percent, news articles and editorials expressed confidence that agencies would be able to absorb these funding reductions without having to implement layoffs or furloughs.
Quickly enough, the picture has begun to darken. Today brings the first reports of agencies considering furloughs, with the Department of Public Safety, which is facing a budget cut of $6.3 million, announcing it is looking at imposing a six day furlough for its staff of 800 state troopers in an effort to save $1.8 million. The Department would also eliminate its annual trooper academy and leave vacancies unfilled.
According to DPS Commissioner Kevin Ward:
“Our concern is with the smaller academy this year not filling all the slots that are going to come open through attrition and no academy next year, we’re kind of getting into a decline in personnel out there,” he said.
“As people quit, like driver’s license examiners, we’re not going to be able to replace them and so some of our areas in which lines are long now, they could get longer.”
Continue Reading »