Monday, January 26, 2009
Legislative leaders say they're not surprised by news the state will likely face a $2.3 billion budget shortfall this year, but some Republicans disagree with Governor Rendell's suggestion that job cuts are needed. The governor says state employees may have to be laid off to balance the budget. Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi says he takes issue with that. The Chester and Delaware county Republican says he doesn't see how the state can use money from President Obama's federal stimulus package in the budget, and reduce jobs at the same time. He says, “His primary objective, as I have heard him, is to make sure that people are able to continue working, and that people who have lost their jobs are able to find gainful employment. Again, laying off state workers seems at odds with that.” House Majority Leader Todd Eachus says Democrats agree with the governor on the fact that every agency will have to trim its sails. “There are things that we're going to have to take a look at, that are core services that you can't cut. But as it relates to all agencies, and efficiency of departments, I think everything's on the table.” Says Eachus. State employees haven't been laid off in large numbers since the early 1990s. Rendell says just about the only thing not on the table is a hike on income tax.