State Aid Bill Passes Senate, 61-39, But NY Layoffs Still Possible

The federal bill that will provide New York with some $2.6 billion in Medicaid and education aid just passed the US Senate 61-39 (no surprise, as that was the same as yesterday’s cloture vote in which two moderate Maine Republicans joined with the Democrats to end the GOP filibuster).

Gov. David Paterson said this morning he expects the state to receive $730 million in the current fiscal year, which is about two-thirds of what the administration expected to receive back in January and included in the executive budget.

The FMAP contingency bill passed by the Legislature this week will be employed to make up the difference, the governor said, adding that he doesn’t expect a DRP will be necessary before the end of the year.

But before everyone starts celebrating, state Budget Director Bob Megna sort of threw cold water on things during an interview with Susan Arbetter this morning, saying the FMAP cash does not mean layoffs are no longer on the table.

“Our original budget assumed we would get this money,” said Megna, who said the state actually budgeted for about $1.6 billion to $1.8 billion in federal Medicaid and education funding in early January.

“The $250 million in state workforce reductions, we still need,” Megna continued. “…We had expected to get that federal money plus the $250 million in workforce reductions. We’re working through our early retirement plan right now…I think we want to see how much the savings from that plan will be before we decide how many layoffs, or if we need to do layoffs, or the timing of layoffs.”

Here’s video of Megna answering questions from reporters in the LCA room at the Capitol:

You can also listen to the entire interview here.


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