Rendell Preps For 995 Lay-Offs If No Table Games By Friday

Gov. Rendell just released a list of 995 state jobs in 21 agencies that would be subject to lay-offs this month if the state General Assembly does not reach an agreement by Friday on how to legalize table games at casinos across the state.  Table games such as poker, roulette and blackjack were expected to create $250 million in new taxes for the state budget that was finally approved in October after a 101-day delay.  But the state Senate and House have been unable to reach agreement on the final language to legalize the games.

Rendell has been threatening for weeks to lay off nearly 1,000 state workers if the table games legislation is not approved.  He clearly hopes the prospect of those lay-offs -- 333 jobs in the Department of Public Welfare, 112 from the State Police, 299 from the Department of Corrections, 1 from the Governor's Office -- would create political leverage to break the legislative log-jam.  The General Assembly gets back to work on the issue tomorrow when it returns from the holiday break.

After the jump, you can read Rendell's news release on the topic and a memo his administration sent out to state agencies, detailing the lay-offs.

Governor’s Office Directs Agencies to Prepare for Furloughs
Planning Continues in Case General Assembly Does Not Pass Gaming Bill

Harrisburg – At the direction of Governor Edward G. Rendell, Secretary of Administration Naomi Wyatt today sent a memo to cabinet secretaries informing them of the number of employees they must furlough if the General Assembly does not pass a bill that legalizes table games by the end of this week.

Wyatt asked each cabinet-level agency to begin developing a plan to implement the staff reductions.

“I sincerely hope furloughs do not become necessary, but as I said last month, at this late date, I must create a plan to balance the budget if we cannot generate the revenue we anticipated,” Governor Rendell said.

When the current budget was adopted last October, the General Assembly and the Rendell Administration agreed that the state would raise $250 million through legalization of table games at Pennsylvania’s licensed casinos, which currently allow only slot machine gambling.

The Governor announced last month that eliminating positions would be one of the steps necessary to plug the $250 million hole left in the budget if the state does not enact gaming legislation. The Governor set a January 8 deadline for passage of table games legislation before he would begin the furlough process.

Editor’s Note: A copy of Secretary Wyatt’s memo and the agency furlough target list is attached.

TO: Cabinet Secretaries and Agency Heads
FROM: Naomi Wyatt, Secretary of Administration
DATE: January 5, 2010
RE: Furlough information

This memo is a follow-up to Steve Crawford’s December 22, 2009, memo regarding furlough planning.

To be prepared in the event a gaming bill is not enacted, enclosed is a list that provides each of you with a furlough target for your agency. The list was developed by spreading 1,000 furloughs proportionally across all agencies’ general fund complement as of December 11, 2009. (Federal, restricted, billed, and special fund complement was excluded; split-funded complement was included.)

Please begin developing a plan to implement the furloughs associated with your agency. Your plan should anticipate that furloughs could occur before the end of January. We will schedule a meeting in early January to provide additional details and information.

(Note: the number of proposed furloughs is followed by the number of full-time equivalent of General Fund positions):

Corrections: 299 (out of 15,436 positions)
Labor & Industry: 6 (out of 288 positions)
Military & Veterans Affairs: 38 (out of 1,914 positions)
General Services: 20 (out of 1,060 positions)
Education: 6 (out of 305 positions)
Revenue: 31 (out of 1,620 positions)
Dept. of State: 2 (out of 93 positions)
State Police: 112 (out of 5,772 positions)
Public Welfare: 333 (out of 17,244 positions)
Community & Economic Development: 5 (out of 299 positions)
Probation & Parole: 22 (out of 1,090 positions)
Historical & Museum Commission: 4 (out of 186 positions)
PA Emergency Management Agency: 2 (out of 111 positions)
Environmental Protection: 31 (out of 1,647 positions)
Conservation & Natural Resources: 24 (out of 1,281 positions)
PA Securities Commission: 1 (out of 76 positions)
Health: 19 (out of 992 positions)
Agriculture: 7 (out of 368 positions)
Insurance: 4 (out of 246 positions)
Executive Offices: 28 (out of 1,463 positions)
Governor’s Office: 1 (out of 58 positions)

Total: 995 (out of 51,577 positions)