State Cutting Down on Contracts

ALBANY—The state is entering into fewer contracts, analysis by comptroller Tom DiNapoli reveals.

The use of outside contractors has been a favorite talking point of public employee unions looking to save money through any means other than re-opening labor contracts. This week, DiNapoli told a gathering of fiscal experts it's something that should be looked at as the state faces a mounting budget deficit. In announcing that the state let only 1,284 contracts in November, about half as much as previous months.

But the dollar amount — $1.2 billion — is middle-of-the-road by comparison. In releasing the analysis, DiNapoli repeated that "the current economic crisis and growing budget shortfall have forced the state to re-evaluate operations and spending."

David Paterson is set to propose his budget for next year on December 16.

UPDATE: Public Employees Federation spokeswoman Darcy Wells called to point out that DiNapoli's data includes all contracts, while PEF is focused on reducing the number and amount of contracts let for services PEF says can be done by state employees. Those numbers are up over last year, Wells said.  

State Cutting Down on Contracts