March 06, 2009
Paterson takes 10 percent pay cut
Governor David Paterson has volunteered to cut his salary by 10 percent, reducing the state's $14 billion budget gap by $17,900, but he has yet to persuade state labor unions to forgo a 3 percent pay raise.
Paterson decided to cut his $179,500 annual salary after a retiree at a Niagara Falls town meeting asked him to cut legislative pay (here, here and here). Legally, Paterson cannot cut lawmakers' salaries. But Paterson can write a check to return part of his own.
"I will symbolically make the gesture for the state," Paterson said [later] in Buffalo. "I am the governor. I am the leader of the state. I will take that sacrifice."Meanwhile, state employee unions aren't budging publicly on Paterson's call to reopen their contracts. Paterson's proposed budget depends on $301 million in union concessions: deferring five days of pay and eliminating a 3 percent pay raise scheduled for April 1.
In New York City, Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants city employees to contribute 10 percent toward their health insurance, saving the city $550 million a year. Instead, the Chief reports (Link for subscribers only), the Municipal Labor Committee is proposing a $160 million in savings by raiding the Health Stabilization Fund and management changes.
"Is it coming out of the members' pockets? No," said Harry Nespoli, chair of the Municipal Labor Council. He said the city's labor negotiator "wasn't too impressed with it."
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