Gov. Andrew Cuomo's threat to lay off 9,800 state employees should be called what it is: blackmail. He is trying to pressure the two largest state employee unions, CSEA and PEF, into accepting drastic financial givebacks.
How will putting 9,800 people on the unemployment rolls reduce the state deficit? Add in the administrative costs of unemployment benefits and it may end up costing the state more money. Those 9,800 unemployed people will not only have reduced buying power, but will be paying far less in state income taxes. How's that going to solve the budget problem?
Governor Cuomo doesn't want to make New Yorkers with the highest incomes pay their fair share in taxes. Continuing the "millionaires' tax" would do more to improve New York's fiscal health than laying off 9,800 human beings and disrupting the lives of another 30,000 with the "bumping" strategy. I'm far from a high earner, but I'd be willing to pay a little more in taxes if it would help reduce the deficit.
The governor is resorting to the time-honored tactic of scapegoating public employees. He's hoping that the false premise that state workers are paid too much for doing too little will sway an uninformed public to his point of view. It may not work this time -- the public is better informed than he realizes.
Governor Cuomo wears a facade of liberalism, yet he is no friend to working people. I believe he is attempting to weaken not only public-sector employees but also labor unions. This would have a detrimental effect on private sector workers as well.
Weakening the middle class while giving the highest earners a tax break is nothing less than class warfare. It's obvious the governor is not on the side of middle-class workers. He's on the side of the rich.