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Stop Blaming Workers for Budget Deficit

WATKINS GLEN — CSEA Schuyler County Administrative Unit President Tammy Brown, the area union president representing about 150 Schuyler County workers, today said County Administrator Tim O’Hearn needs to stop blaming County workers and their wages for a continuously-changing projected budget deficit next year. “Our local union leadership fully supports CSEA’s position against re-opening our contract or doing layoffs. There are better ways to solve this deficit,” she said. “One of those would be to implement the 4% sales tax on clothing the County has proposed, which we believe would have a very minimal impact on County residents, especially compared to the alternative of service cuts from layoffs.” Brown said that the union’s budget analysis shows that the County has drastically spent down the County’s unrestricted reserve fund in the past few years, by more than 64% from 2006 to 2008.”We understand that the County wanted to keep taxes from increasing, but we believe that spending down our reserves to dangerously low levels has hampered the County’s ability to have a needed cushion for hard economic times, to avoid the need for layoffs.”CSEA also takes issue with the County’s frequently-changing deficit projections.”When the County first came to the union, there was a one million dollar budget gap that they needed concessions to fill. Now, it’s much less than that and the numbers seem to change every day. They also neglected to account in this budget for Medicaid Cap reimbursement funding that we know the county will be receiving.”Brown said that CSEA members plan on attending Monday evening’s budget hearing to speak out against the County’s proposed layoffs.

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