Friday, April 22, 2005

Forrester and the Layoffs

Doug Forrester figured out how to pay for his property tax plan; Lay off about 6,000 state workers.

He doesn't know who, of course. But if they're union, like many state workers are, the unions are going to fight him tooth and nail. Nice quote from Carla Katz, Local 1034 of Communications Workers of America president: "The notion that you can simply eliminate 6,000 jobs and not affect the quality of public services is ridiculous." Bear in mind this only funds $400mil of the first year of his plan, the other $300mil to come from other cuts in the state budget.

Forrester wants to roll back to "Pre-McGreevy" numbers. Well, since then we added the motor vehicle agency back to the payroll, homeland security positions, and most notably 1500 jobs to reform the child welfare system in Our Fair State. Which ones does he think should go?

Somehow, I don't think this move will help him politically. Yes, we all know we need to trim state budgets and payrolls, but arbitrarily axing 6000 people isn't the way to do it. If there are 6000 jobs and another $300mil that can be easily cut from the budget, the Republicans should offer 'em up now. (I say "Republicans" and not "Forrester" because, well, he took their idea. See here.)

Per Acting Gov. Codey in this year's budget address:
"If individuals on either side of the aisle want to criticize this budget ...
If people want to oppose the small revenue raisers ... or clamor for more cuts...
Then come forward with your specific ideas, not your generic criticisms.
If you want to do more spending, show me how you will pay for it.
If you want to talk about cuts, show me directly what you mean.
If you want to remove a revenue raiser, show me how you will replace it.
Don't sit in the aisles and say you oppose this idea or that idea.
Don't stand at some distant podium and say the State should just cut more spending."

The Republicans could make a big deal about it being their idea to cut these unneeded 6000 jobs and showing the Dems how to make a smaller government. 'Course, then they'd have to have an actual plan, not just a sound bite.

(As an aside, I saw the second half of the Acting Gov. Codey's budget address this year. I wish I had seen the whole thing. I nearly cried, honestly I did, because I so much wanted to vote for this man. But I'll never get the chance.)

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