House budget chairman says furloughs saved state jobs, gambling 'effectively' dead

12/02/2010 07:28 PM

Despite concerns raised by some lawmakers about six unpaid leave days for state workers, the move has saved money to prevent layoffs of rank-and-file public employees, said House Budget Chairman Rick Rand.

“I think it probably saved people from losing their jobs. And, to me, that’s a good tradeoff,” said Rand, a Bedford Democrat, on Thursday’s edition of Pure Politics. The interview was recorded late last month.

The General Assembly directed Gov. Steve Beshear to trim the state’s payroll by cutting the number of political appointees and allowed the administration to implement furloughs.

Beshear’s furlough plan first applied to all employees, from the lowest paid to the governor himself. Some prison guards and social workers filed a lawsuit, saying the furloughs would affect their ability to perform necessary state services. Eventually the Beshear administration approved exceptions.

But these state employee issues have remained in the news. Rand’s Democratic colleague in the House, Rep. John Will Stacy, pre-filed legislation last month that would bar the administration from carrying out further furlough days.¬†Beshear has asked for 81 appointees to be spared getting pink slips, as first reported by the Herald-Leader’s John Cheves.

Rand also fielded questions on legislators’ pensions and the future of measures to allow gambling in Kentucky. He said the chances of such bills passing are slim.

“Our House members are probably reluctant to vote for a bill that they think will die in the Senate,” Rand said.

- Ryan Alessi


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