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Illinois Government Jobs in Danger

Posted on June 16, 2009

Tens of thousands of Illinois government jobs could soon be lost if the state doesn’t find another way to fix its current budget deficit.

The State of Illinois recently announced that more than 10,000 employees could lose their jobs because of budget problems, according to an article by The State Journal-Register. And even if some alternatives are reached, including cost-cutting measures and a tax increase, the administration has said some layoffs will most likely still be necessary.

In an effort to find alternative solutions, Gov. Pat Quinn‘s administration and other officials are scheduled to meet with officials from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees today to discuss ways to reduce the number of layoffs. That union represents about 35,000 state workers.

The administration has said it needs to save $500 million in worker costs and has proposed alternative measures such as unpaid furlough days, a wage freeze or wage reduction. If employees agreed to take four, unpaid furlough days, it would save the state $36 million. A wage freeze would save about $125 million. However, a wage freeze or reduction would require AFSCME to reopen a four-year contract the state negotiated last fall.

On top of the current budget deficit, the budget also proposed making workers pay more for health insurance and changing work schedules at prisons to reduce overtime, but neither measure was approved, meaning more money will be added to the deficit. Quinn also is pushing for an increase in state income tax.

News of the job cuts comes despite the fact that the state’s government industry seems to be thriving. That industry employed 862,600 workers during April, according to the United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is up from 853,600 workers during March and a 1 percent increase from last year.

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