HARRISBURG - The Senate State Government Committee will hear testimony today from Rendell administration officials about furloughing government workers should the state budget fail to be approved on time again.
Naomi Wyatt, secretary of administration, said Friday that without a budget in place, state officials by law have no option but to furlough as many as 25,000 workers whose jobs are deemed "non-critical," or open the possibility of hefty federal fines.
A budget deadlock last year led to the one-day furlough of 24,000 employees and the closure of state parks and driver's license centers and other state offices. This year Gov. Rendell said furloughs could occur as early as July 1, one day after the budget deadline.
Sen. Jeffrey Piccola (R., Dauphin) called on administration officials to appear before the committee because he said he is not convinced that workers must be furloughed in the event of a budget impasse. Piccola is sponsoring legislation that passed the Senate and is before the House that would prevent future furloughs by defining all state employees as "critical."
The hearing is scheduled at 12:30 p.m. in the Capitol.
Slated to appear before the committee are Wyatt; Leo Pandeladis, the Treasury Department's chief counsel; and Alain Williams, an attorney for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the union that represents many state workers.