Monday, May 10, 2010

SD-46: Martland Proposes Solutions to Furlough Fiasco

Tonight, the State Legislature passed the state budget extension, including a furlough for state employees one day each week. Before the vote, Democratic State Senate candidate Luke Martland made his thoughts on this perfectly clear and offered solutions to the budget crisis. The full presser:


Governor and Legislature Should Begin Seven Days a Week Negotiations and Take Pay Cut Equal to Furlough

(Albany) – State Senate candidate Luke Martland today issued a list of solutions that could help solve the furlough crisis.

“The Governor’s threat to furlough state workers is wrong and demonstrates the dysfunction in our state government,” said Martland. “The furlough hurts hard working New Yorkers who deserve better. The effects of this furlough will be felt far beyond state workers. It will also affect every mom-and-pop business that caters to state workers and their families.”

“Both the Governor and leadership of the Senate, including Assistant Majority Leader Neil Breslin, have failed these working families. Sadly, over the last two weeks while family paychecks hung in the balance, the Senate has worked only three days each week, and then taken four day weekends. Not surprisingly there is still no state budget. It’s time for a new approach.”

Martland proposes the following solutions to break the gridlock:

1. The Governor submit, and the legislature immediately pass, a two week extender without any furloughs or lay offs,

2. The Governor, Senate and Assembly should remain in Albany and work seven days a week until a budget is passed,

3. The Governor, all Senators and Assembly members, and all executive and legislative staff should take an immediate pay cut equal to any potential furlough,

4. If a furlough is indeed necessary to avoid fiscal ruin for the State, that sacrifice must be shared by every State worker. That means that all State workers, including all consultants and both so-called “essential” and “non-essential” employees must participate in any pay cut or furlough,

5. Any sacrifice should be imposed on a sliding scale. A worker making $25,000 and struggling to feed a family cannot afford to lose a full day’s pay. Any furlough or pay cut should be imposed on a sliding scale so that lower paid workers sacrifice only a minimal amount and higher paying workers sacrifice progressively more.

“If the Governor and Legislature adopt these solutions and begin to show true leadership I believe a budget could be passed in short order,” said Martland.

Emphasis mine – SP

A few words on how this bill, and Martland’s statements, directly affect me below the fold…

(Cross-posted on The Albany Project)

I usually emphasize what I feel to be the most generally important points being made by a candidate based only on my own political opinions. Tonight, I emphasize portions of what Martland is saying because this furlough will profoundly affect me. As I’ve been out of work for well over a year, I’m lucky enough to have a mother generous enough to keep me out of the cold and fed while I continue my job search in this dastardly economy.

Just one problem: she’s a state worker. So without going into detail she’d rather me not go into, I can stand as a living example of how this ridiculous furlough will effect New Yorkers beyond just the low-level office workers and laborers who will now be forced to cut their already tight budgets immediately. For me, this issue hits home, and it hits home hard.

And let me tell you, it sucks. My family isn’t rich. We don’t get Wall Street bonuses. We don’t get our stock trading taxes back. And we certainly can’t ask the insurance and banking industry lobby to contribute to our continued campaign to keep our heads above water. But Senator Breslin can…

…and that’s why I think it’s time for a new approach. I encourage all true progressive Democrats to visit the websites of Breslin’s challengers, Luke Martland and Tim Carney, to put an end to this heartless assault on working families. None of this nonsense will change unless we change the names of those who are supposed to be representing us.

My Senator just voted to reduce my families budget 20% while he is over a month late getting his own budget passed. So this September, I’m voting him out.

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