I’ve called a few state senators to get their thoughts on the cost-cutting measures Senate Minority Leader Malcolm Smith introduced in Albany this morning, including reducing the state’s non-essential workforce by 6,000 through attrition, a part of the plan that has already drawn criticism.
State Senator Diane Savino, a former labor activist with Local 371 of AFSCME, offered a sort of preview of how the Democrats intend to defend some of the more contentious aspects of what they’re proposing.
“We have to accept the fact that next year, we’re going to have a serious budget deficit for a variety of reasons,” she told me. “From the subprime lending crisis to the collapse of the housing market and its impact on Wall Street, it‘s going to impact the state budget. So, the first thing we have to do is look at ways to reduce state spending without directly impacting people. You do that first. We don’t want to talk about budget cuts, we don’t want to talk about layoffs, absolutely not. We don’t want to talk about reducing spending until we have looked at the whole picture and seen ways where we can trim expenses without hurting people.”