Rendell: Furloughs to begin July 1

The Rendell administration has announced that furloughs of non-essential state workers (which includes everyone but state troopers, prison guards, liquor store clerks, casino regulators, and of course, legislative staffers and the Governor’s PR people and limo driver) will begin on July 1 , unless a budget is signed by that point. Get the letter and FAQ from the administration here.

Last year, if you remember correctly, Governor Rendell furloughed workers for one day as, as he claimed they could not work beyond the last day of the pay-period covered by the previous budget – unless he had a handshake deal with Senate Republicans. This year, he says he is required to start furloughs on the first day of FY 2008-09, unless he signs the budget before then. Furloughs will be almost a certainity, given the House Democrats’ pace of activity in trying to move the budget legislation.

Call me a cynic, but I find the explanation that Rendell’s lawyers have a better understanding of federal law now than they did last year less believable than the notion Governor Rendell thinks the threat to hold state workers hostage will help get his pet projects passed.