Va. to cut 565 state jobs due to budget shortfall - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Va. to cut 565 state jobs due to budget shortfall

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The state is making big cuts to help close a big gap. More than 560 state workers are being laid off as Governor McAuliffe announces 92 million dollars in immediate cuts impacting everything from jobs to public safety.

The Governor says it was no easy decision to make. The 92 million dollars in cuts - only a partial relief for the state's 2.4 billion dollar budget shortfall. Now everything from higher education to even alcohol costs at ABC stores are feeling the pinch.

"Making this budget reductions {have} been the most difficult part of my job so far,” McAuliffe said.

Wednesday, he delivered the tough blow that will leave 565 state workers looking for work. 90 % of them coming from the Department of Corrections.

"It's very tragic for anyone that gets laid off. It's like ‘oh my goodness, I came in for work one day and then they told me I don't have a job',” says Sara Redding Wilson with the state's Department of Human Resource Management.

Her department is helping those impacted.

"We pay a severance payment that is a minimum of 4 weeks, a maximum of 36 weeks and that's based on years of service. They also get the employer's share of healthcare for one year,” she said.

It comes as all state departments are tightening up.

"We are improving business practices and efficiencies. We are eliminating unneeded contractors including outside consultants and attorneys. We are leaving vacant positions unfilled,” McAuliffe said.

Even state police leaders are leaving 27 of their 68 open trooper positions vacant.

“The vacancies are current positions that will remain unfilled until further notice. Sworn state police personnel will absorb any additional duties/calls for service to ensure adequate statewide coverage,” said Corinne Geller with Virginia State Police.
The department will also sell one of its airplanes, leaving only 2 now for traffic enforcement and crime investigations.

Powhatan's main correctional center is now closing as well as a diversion center near Winchester.

ABC is now set to mark up its prices, for the first time since 2008.

“As part of that process, ABC will be seeking comment from its stakeholders, including vendors, suppliers and industry representatives, and working with them to accommodate their business needs. The last markup increase on distilled spirits occurred nearly seven years ago in February 2008, and was 4%. Over the next few weeks, ABC's executive leadership team will make a final decision about the increase and its effective date…” said Kathleen Shaw with ABC.

This as the state is trying to lessen the blow to these being issued the pink slip.

“We'll we make sure employees know about Virginia jobs and any jobs that are open that they might want to apply for,” Redding Wilson added.

Governor McAuliffe says it was very important to ensure there would be no cuts to K-12 education. McAuliffe does not need General Assembly approval to make these immediate cuts, but state leaders say there is bipartisan support.

The state's government employee association said it had hoped to avoid those layoffs. The group will meet Thursday to discuss the transition for those workers.

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