State Legislature Approves Worker Furloughs

September 27, 2013 Updated May 10, 2010 at 11:22 PM EDT

By John Borsa

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September 27, 2013 Updated May 10, 2010 at 11:22 PM EDT

Buffalo, NY (WKBW) -- The State Senate and Assembly approved an emergency spending bill Monday night that included furloughs for roughly 100,000 state workers.

Democrats approved the measure in the Senate with a straight party-line vote of 32-29.

In the Assembly, the Democrats' wider margin allowed some Democratic members to vote no. The final vote was 82-56.

The votes came just hours after angry state employees held protests throughout the state, including a noontime protest in front of the Ellicott Square Building in downtown Buffalo.

"The very people that pass the laws and put us in this situation, they are not getting furloughed," said Thomas Rogalski of CSEA. "They are not losing their pay."

The bipartisan coalition Unshackle Upstate said the furloughs are fine for now, but New York needs long-term solutions to reduce state spending.

"Unshackle Upstate supports the 10-day furlough as a means to provide a short-term measure to realign state spending," said Executive Director Brian Sampson.

"But we believe that ultimately New York state and local governments must move beyond short-term solutions and address the unsustainable growth in government spending," Sampson said.

Governor David Paterson commended the Legislature for approving the emergency appropriations legislation, that allows New York government to continue operating with a permanent budget plan in place.

Paterson promised orderly operation of government with the furloughs in place.

"I will work closely with my agency commissioners to expeditiously implement these furloughs in a manner that both reduces taxpayer costs and minimizes any potential impact on public services," Paterson said in a statement released Monday evening.

Paterson's office said the furloughs will save the state $30 million per week. Paterson has asked union leaders for concessions totaling $250 million.

The state is facing a $9.2 billion deficit.