Secretary of State warns of furloughs next week
BATON ROUGE - The Louisiana Secretary of State's office said Wednesday that a proposed $3.8 million mid-year budget cut from the Jindal administration could force them to furlough employees starting as early as next week.
Secretary of State Tom Schedler said he's been given until Friday to figure out how to make the reduction work and report back to the Division of Administration.
"After holding the largest election our state has seen in decades just this past fall, my office's resources are down to the bone. The administration is asking for us to give up bone marrow, and it is extremely painful," he said.
The state is facing a potential budget crisis due to the plummeting oil market. The Division of Administration projected the falling price of oil has created a $1.4 billion gap that will have to be made up.
Schedler said he shared the budget numbers with his senior staff Wednesday morning and warned them he may receive an executive order calling for the cuts. If so, Schedler said he'll seek Civil Service approval for an agency-wide furlough starting Jan. 20. All agency workers, both classified and unclassified, would be required to take one day off per pay period for the rest of the fiscal year.
"You can't cut enough pens, pencils and travel allowances to get to this number," Schedler said.
Schedler said the furloughs would cover $1.1 million of the cuts, and that the Jindal administration has requested $2.6 million in general funds be used for elections. The rest of the cuts will be covered from operational savings.
The secretary said they would look for a more permanent solution if the budget doesn't improve.