Governor Carcieri’s Big Proposal
WHJJ’s (920 AM) Helen Glover is reporting that Governor Donald Carcieri has proposed closing the state budget deficit by cutting 1,000 state jobs.
Communications Director Steve Kass is on with Glover now. Reductions will be achieved through a combination of attrition, retirements, and privatization.
Kass just mentioned that state employees are expensive because of the benefits and that changing to private-sector-style packages would save $500,000,000 per year, without any layoffs. I wonder, is this the real endgame?
7-to-7 is reporting that the Governor’s proposal involves an across-the-board wage freeze, as well as layoffs.
Dan Yorke (WPRO 630 AM) opened his show by playing the Governor’s afternoon press conference. Overhead, as a percentage of salary of a RI state employee, is 88%. For a typical New England private sector company, the overhead is 29%. For a typical unionized New England private sector company, it’s 38%. (And, by the way, for a contracted state employee, it’s 22.5%, the Governor throws in.)
According to Yorke, the Governor believes he can implement a workforce reduction on his own (is that a settled legal question?). However, a wage freeze
or any other change in state employee benefits requires action by the General Assembly. Benefit changes would have to be renegotiated.