Exclusive: Lawmakers to take additional furlough days

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and House Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) will announce today that state legislators are taking an additional six unpaid furlough days this fiscal year, the AJC has learned.

According to a copy of a letter Cagle and Ralston are sending members of the General Assembly, the move brings to 11 the total number of furlough days lawmakers will take in fiscal 2010. No state agency has taken more than 12; most have taken between three and 11. Legislative staff will only face three additional furlough days for a total of six for the fiscal year.

In addition, the two Capitol leaders said the General Assembly has returned $2.7 million in fiscal 2009 funding to the state treasury.

“Now that we have an even more realistic picture of our state’s revenue for the remainder of the fiscal year, we are announcing an additional six days of furloughs for General Assembly members, including ourselves,” Cagle and Ralston will say in a joint statement. “As elected leaders, we must lead by example and we are not immune to the revenue shortfalls that are affecting our state and our families. That is why we are committed to doing our small part to balance the budget.”

Legislators were furloughed one day a month between August and December and must take another six days between now and the end of June. These furloughs are in addition to the 8 percent budget cut lawmakers voted themselves in the fiscal 2010 budget.

37 comments Add your comment

jdawg

January 26th, 2010
9:34 am

I hate to say this, most of them are rich, most of them have full time jobs. This is just show….

atlin83

January 26th, 2010
9:47 am

Does this mean that, like the rest of us who’ve been furloughed this year, they can’t go to work on those extra days? If so, poor, poor legislators – they’ll have to rely on their other (usually high) incomes while they get to not solve the state’s issues for an extra six days. Their furlough off-days would be as effective as the ones they’re at the Capitol.

Hates Republicans

January 26th, 2010
10:10 am

Big show and nothing more. This is an election year so let’s make the people think we care but we really don’t because we already have full time jobs in the six figure bracket and our salary here is only chump change. Don’t let these people fool you.

tc

January 26th, 2010
10:18 am

now if we could just furlough lobbyists….

Silverchief

January 26th, 2010
10:21 am

“Hates Republicans ”

Says it all doesn’t it…..no need to read the post.

mw

January 26th, 2010
10:23 am

Before you guys start bashing the General Assembly members how about you get to know some of them. You will find them to be vastly different than what you think.

td

January 26th, 2010
10:37 am

As a state employee that will end up taking 11 furlough days this year, I am appreciative our legislative leaders are suffering the same pain as the rest of the state employees. For the dumb a**es on hear that says this is all show, the Lt. Gov and Speaker of the House jobs are full time positions and they are taking a 5% pay-cut on a $100,000 dollar a year job.

Sunny Daze

January 26th, 2010
10:37 am

Yeah, probably worse than we think.

tc

January 26th, 2010
10:45 am

td, while those may be full time for ltgov & spkr, they probably do get outside income….i’m sure it still hurts a little though……….a least they get some free meals every now and then

bulldog

January 26th, 2010
10:49 am

We have a Speaker and Lt. Governor that show they are not tone deaf on this issue. The General Assembly is moving in the right direction under new leadership.

gagrl

January 26th, 2010
11:08 am

As a state employee, I commend the legislators – they are are going through the same thing as the low man on the totem pole. It isn’t “do as I say not as I do” – they are actually practicing what they preach.

Rob Vinson

January 26th, 2010
11:26 am

I’m self employed…i wake up without a job everyday…but somehow i make it through? I get so tired of hearing people bitch and moan about furlough days. I have worked hundreds of days and hours with no pay, but it is all part of being self employed. The positives outweigh the negatives though, and i wouldn’t have it any other way. People who have a job right now with a guaranteed check, guaranteed insurance and retirement benefits should be thankful because it’s tough out there right now. Ask yourself, “if i didn’t have my job where i am furloughed a little over a week out of the year, could i make a living and bring in the money necessary to survive and live? If the answer is no, then suck it up.

Guess What

January 26th, 2010
11:35 am

But seriously, why is the Department of Community Affairs the only state agency yet to have a furlough day? Are they using all that federal housing money to pay for peeps doind state work?

Laurie

January 26th, 2010
11:36 am

The true test of the state legislators’ intregrity will be if they take the days off, or continue to work like so many of our furlouched teachers have. That’s what I’ll be looking at come election day.

slick

January 26th, 2010
11:47 am

Rob: You’re self employed. Sorry but that doesn’t translate. I assume you’ve been working hard (for free) to build a business. Your business. One day your hard efforts will bear fruit and hopefully you’ll reach a point where you make money without working. The same can’t be said for those who work for someone else.

tc

January 26th, 2010
11:48 am

guess what, if they don’t take furlough days at dca, they should. even if it is fed money, then ask for a waiver and direct the money from direct salaries to benefits for their clients or national debt reduction. same holds true for labor….mostly federally funded…..make them furlough and use savings to replenish the unemployment claim shortfall. if we are all in this together , we are all in this together.

Rob Vinson

January 26th, 2010
12:09 pm

Hey Slick, the whole point i was trying to make is that it’s tough out there and if people want to keep their jobs, benefits and retirement, then they’re going to have to go with the flow and take the furlough days or face the alternative, no job, no check etc. If i were in their shoes, i wouldn’t like it either, but i would understand that it’s the price to pay right now for having a job with guaranteed money / benefits / retirement, etc.

No Nonsense

January 26th, 2010
12:22 pm

Since the economy is in poor shape and since legislators are public servants and have other jobs and incomes, why not forgo any salary for this legislative session? Legislators would still be entitled to a per diem which would include reimbursement for lodging, travel and meals if they meet the State reimbursement requirement. If all legislators made this gesture and continue it until the economy improves, that would have a more significant impact.

godless heathen

January 26th, 2010
12:26 pm

If this means that the legislature will be in session 6 less days (34 instead of 40) then I’m all for it. If it means that they won’t get paid for 6 days spent caverting with lobbyists, I’m for that also.

Dawgbone

January 26th, 2010
12:27 pm

I really appreciate the leadership this shows from the Capitol…now if they only had to pay for tickets to the collegiate games! lol

td

January 26th, 2010
12:31 pm

No Nonsense, How do we know that all these legislators have other jobs or that they do not need the money? I think I read some where that the new lady in the leadership in the house is a stay at home mom? I also think that even a lot of the other ones are taking pay cuts to take be able to serve for 40 days per year. Those are 40 days that you can not earn money at another job and I have not heard of any company that pays their salaries while they are serving.

Pierce Randall

January 26th, 2010
1:06 pm

I mean, the furloughs are a nice gesture in line with state austerity measures, I guess, but insofar as they reflect the general belief that lawmakers should get paid less than whatever they’re paid now, it’s not a good deal.

If it’s not possible to earn a living wage as a lawmaker, then the rich who can afford to take a few months off work will be more likely to pursue careers as lawmakers. Additionally, lawmakers who aren’t fabulously rich will be more open to bribes.

GTdad

January 26th, 2010
1:11 pm

At least they are making the effort. Now is the Governor doing the same thing, and how about his mansion staff, his driver, his helicopter pilot, etc. Let’s make sure that the teachers are not the only ones paying for the pork barrell items that will be included in the new budget. And if we can get the Governor to keep his hand out of the lottery money and spend it the way it was originally set up to be spent, maybe we can keep our kids in college, because it is for sure they won’t or can’t get a job when they finish. Who elected these people anyway?

km

January 26th, 2010
1:12 pm

While I have been highly critical of some legislators, this is not an area I will criticize. As a matter of fact, I will concede they are underpaid if they take the job seriously and spend the necessary time to do the job well. They work far more than 40 days a year since they are year round legislators and deal with constituents constantly. I also believe there are some who need the money. I have no problem with that. These furlough days would be a true sacrifice for them.

Red

January 26th, 2010
1:25 pm

Are you kidding? These ‘yahoos’ are the ones running the state. One would think that, for the priveledge of leadership, they would stay and work the days without pay and maybe some extra days to come up with a way to dig us out of the hole they’ve dug us.

Jacky Jack

January 26th, 2010
1:34 pm

I’m calling BS on this one! Furlough days for “our” lawmakers? Going to a few less concerts (Elton John???? I’m glad I didn’t vote for that clown; he probably misses a lot of votes hanging out in the bathroom at at the airport), to a few less sporting events, a few less golf outings, a few less steak dinners,etc., all bought and paid for by lobbbyists does not count as furlough days. 99.9% of these so called “lawmakers” are slimy, stinking hypocrites. I will not vote for any incumbent. Until term limits are imposed, we are stuck with the same cess pool. And Pierce I guess none of our lawmakers are fabulously rich. From where I sit they all appeared to be bought and paid for like a cheap New Orleans whore.

godless heathen

January 26th, 2010
2:22 pm

99% of them make the rest look bad.

keith

January 26th, 2010
2:26 pm

I don’t understand why it’s the exclusive responsibility of state employees to try and supplment lower tax revenues. We aren’t the only taxpayers in the state who are spending less these days; so why isn’t every taxpayer expected to do there part to help with this problem. I’m not sure of the exact numbers, but I did some ballpark figuring. State employees are giving up about $50 million dollars total (about $2,000 per person). If every taxpayer would simply be charged $25 extra on their taxes the state could collect about $130 million dollars total. Losing $2,000 might not hurt your budget, but it’s killing me. I wouldn’t mind giving up $25 along with every other taxpayer in the state.

Jack Stilton

January 26th, 2010
4:50 pm

Most of these cats are going to be thrown out of office in Nov anyway. The teachers ran Roy Barnes out of town and they will throw out a furloughing, benefit cutting, no cost of living increase legislator too! You should cut the welfare queens before you cut the workers!

tc

January 27th, 2010
7:44 am

those seven legislators who were either confused about furloughs or objected and thus did not take them should be flogged

Worst President EVER!

January 27th, 2010
8:50 am

These legislators were “confused” about the furlough rules so they just ignored them? If they are so IGNORANT, what the he// are they doing in office making laws for us? Get them the he// out of office now!

Straight Eye for the Crooked Political Folk

January 27th, 2010
9:24 am

I like the terminology that is used in the various articles that are written regarding furlough days. For the ‘regular’ state employee, the furlough days are mandatory and they will not be paid one day a month. OTOH, legislators were ‘requested’ to take ‘voluntary’ furlough days some of which didn’t for the following reasons:
—opposed taking on principle (ran for office expecting to be paid a certain salary)[Very classy] {Mr Lucas; don’t let the door hit you on the way out}
—Failed to file documentation to have pay reduced was an ‘oversight’ [it's an oversight now because they have been called on the carpet] {Similar to embezzlers showing remorse for their misdeeds after they get caught…..but they’re going to “right their wrong}
—didn’t know that the money hadn’t been deducted yet {apparently this guy has so much money he doesn’t have to keep tabs on his finances, or just more proof that these elected officials can’t manage the state’s budget, let alone their own}

I hope the voters of Georgia have long memories come election time. The 7 ‘non-furlough compliant’ legislators are just a drop in the bucket of what I’m sure are many misdeeds that commonly take place on Capitol Hill.

td

January 27th, 2010
9:50 am

Jack Stilton, So how is the legislature suppose to give these raises and no benefits cuts to state employees? We have a state Constitution that says we have to balance the budget each and every year. Most citizens of Georgia have taken pay cuts or even layoffs the past couple of years, so they should now have to pay higher taxes for you to get a raise and not have to sacrifice anything?

Mrs. Glenn Richardson

January 27th, 2010
11:10 am

I furloughed Glenn for life.

And if Mark’s handed out 30 appointments in 11 days–where’s mine? I’m the best thing that ever happened to him.

GA Bureaucrat

January 27th, 2010
11:16 am

I am a state employee who is grateful to have a job even in the face of no cost of living increase in 3 years, furlough days and higher insurance and benefit cost. My income is shrinking but so is the income of many of my friends and neighbors. I made more in private industry before coming to the state but I love being a public servant and doing something worthwhile for my neighbors in the state of Georgia.

As the Governor said in the State of the State address… many of us are working for 2-3 people now and the state is being very careful to cut budgets without cutting the critical services our citizens need (educators, police, child support workers, family advocates, workers compensation, labor, mental health workers, foresters, HERO truck drivers, consumer protection lawyers, agriculture inspectors… the list goes on and on…

Georgia is a strong state. Times will get better and when they do I hope our legislature remembers our sacrifice and willingness to take low pay and work some hard jobs to serve our citizens.

I am pleased to hear that most of our legislators feel they can sacrifice too. And there are 250,000 of us state employees (including teachers) who will also remember come election time.

johnboy

January 27th, 2010
11:33 am

if they cant abide by the rules like the rest of the people deduct their pay check. if that isnt agreeable to them dont run for office

julie

January 27th, 2010
2:25 pm

“Rep. David Lucas of Macon and Rep. Earnest “Coach” Williams of Avondale Estates said they oppose the furloughs on principle. Both said the leadership ordered the days without consulting members, who ran for the office with the expectation they would be paid a certain salary.”

?? Didn’t every state employee who has been furloughed take their position with the expectation of a certain salary? How many state employees were consulted about getting furloughed? My husband certainly wasn’t, nor were the daycare workers at my son’s daycare. We’ve all had to suck it up and deal with it, happily or not. The legislators should do the same, and these two should be hounded into compliance.