The State Legislature will delay the payroll for state workers by one week instead of imposing a one-week furlough recommended by Gov. Cuomo, legislative sources said Monday.
Also Monday, negotiations on how to cut the state's budget by $1 billion were delayed, with talks about how to cut $190 million to $200 million in school aid hitting a snag.
Legislative leaders had hoped to begin action on budget-cutting legislation today. Now, that will be postponed at least to Wednesday.
Legislators and Cuomo hope to trim $1 billion from the budget before next Monday, when the amount of taxes collected last month will be released. Those figures are expected to show the state's projected deficit exceeding $1 billion.
Cuomo pledged to keep the state's budget in balance throughout this fiscal year. The governor and the Legislature would have to come up with further budget cuts, beyond the governor's $1 billion proposal, if November's tax collections are below expectations.
The Legislature's decision to block Cuomo's furlough proposal is a small victory for the state's public employee unions. Instead of taking back one week's pay from state workers, the Legislature wants to delay the payment of one's week salary for most.
The final week's payroll for the 1990-91 fiscal year would be paid at the start of the next fiscal year, under the Legislature's "lag" proposal. State workers already are paid under a two-week delay plan enacted in 1983 to help cure budget problems then.
The payroll delay would save about $120 million -- $15 million less than what Cuomo wanted to cut with the furlough. That $15 million "hole" and others must be filled to meet the $1 billion in spending cuts proposed by the governor.
Top aides to the Legislature, who spoke on the condition that they not be identified, said the furlough would save $105 million to $115 million -- not the $135 million claimed by the governor. Many of the employees Cuomo targeted for furloughs, the aides explained, could not be taken off the job without dramatically disrupting state services.
The governor is expected to oppose the Legislature's alternative -- at least publicly -- but this will not block passage of a budget-balancing plan, sources predicted.
Last week, the governor said he would consider delaying the payroll a week if that would save the state $135 million. His aides say the Legislature has not formally offered any alternative to the furlough proposal.
Union leaders said they would prefer a payroll lag over a furlough. Monday, they filed a joint grievance against the state, claiming Cuomo was breaking negotiated contracts by seeking the Legislature's approval for the furlough.
The presidents of the state's four major unions said they should have a choice and a chance to negotiate. Instead, the unions said, the governor said they must suffer two blows -- furloughs and layoffs.
The governor has called for -- and is expected to carry out -- the layoff of 2,000 workers before March 31 and as many as 8,000 more by March 31, 1992. More layoffs will be ordered if $135 million cannot be saved through a furlough or similar alternative, Cuomo said.