In Albany, the Legislature passed an emergency budget bill enabling Governor David Paterson to furlough about 100,000 workers – almost half of those employed by the state – without pay.
Claiming the plan to be illegal, public employee unions intend to file for a temporary restraining order to prohibit the furlough. The New York Times reports,
While some lawmakers, including many who voted for the bill, also questioned the legality of the furloughs, they said they had little choice but to approve the legislation because failing to do so would have effectively shut down the state government.
Under the plan, all affected employees will have to take off one day next week. The furloughs will exclude some public safety and health care workers.
The governor issued a statement,
I recognize that these furloughs represent a difficult sacrifice for many of the state’s public employees. That sacrifice is only necessary because their union leadership has rejected all other reasonable attempts at compromise.
This is the first time furloughs have been used as a measure to save money in the state. It is reported that the furloughs will save the state $30 million.