Paterson Orders Layoffs of 8,900

As state tax revenues continue to decline and state unions stand firm on their contracts, Governor Paterson says he has no choice but to lay off almost 9,000 state workers. WNYC's Bob Hennelly has more.

REPORTER: A spokesman for the state's Division of Budget says the layoffs are slated for this summer and will be distributed throughout the 141,000-member workforce in agencies under the governor's control. Not included are the 60,000 employees who work for the courts, the attorney general, the comptroller and the state and city's higher ed systems.

Last Fall Governor Paterson asked state workers to help avert layoffs by giving up a three percent pay raise and consider long term pension reforms. Paterson says labor has made no counter offer. Since then, the unions have pressed the governor to close the multi-billion dollar budget gap by hiking taxes on the state's wealthiest households.

In a statement last night Speaker Silver called on both the governor and the state unions to make a renewed effort at finding common ground. For WNYC I am Bob Hennelly.