First furloughs, now state worker layoffs
Gov. O'Malley's budget antiticpates about 700 state employee layoffs to help balance the budget. That's less than 1 percent of the overall state workforce, but it likely comes as a big hit to employees who largely took an earlier furlough plan pretty well in the belief that it would prevent layoffs. Now, most all state workers are being forced to take unpaid leave only to see some of their colleagues shown the door. Until now, unionized state workers have been pretty solid supporters of O'Malley. Will that change? And was there any alternative? Sen. President Mike Miller says the governor should have passed cuts on to local governments before laying off state workers -- after all, many local government workers have seen better raises in recent years than their state counterparts. Expect a big debate this session over whether anything can be done to save the state employees.