States may find targeting workers isn't easy - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

States may find targeting workers isn't easy


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Employee salaries and benefits are a popular target for officials trying to balance state budgets, but hitting that target isn't easy.

State laws and constitutions often limit cuts to the benefits of retired government employees. Contracts and collective-bargaining rules can complicate efforts to lay off workers or cut their pay.

The Republican governors of Wisconsin and Ohio are talking about passing laws to weaken public-employee unions.

Some experts say governors should focus on cutting other costs or modernizing tax systems. They say worker costs make up only a small fraction of state budget problems.

New York, for instance, could lay off every single state employee and would still cut spending by only 10 percent.

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