Local Politics

Layoffs threaten state revenue department

Posted November 14, 2008 6:28 p.m. EST
Updated November 14, 2008 7:07 p.m. EST

State budget

— State Department of Revenue officials say they will continue looking at ways to trim their budget without layoffs – for now.

Friday was a tense day for hundreds of employees who wondered about the fate or their jobs as revenue officials looked at whether to cut contracted temporary jobs.

A legislative budget analyst said last week that the state's deficit would likely be $800 million and $1.6 billion during the current fiscal year.

Gov. Easley has already ordered state agencies to looking for ways to cut their budgets by 5 percent – including keeping vacant positions open, limiting travel, cutting back on educational training and reducing supply purchases.

But the revenue department appears to be the first to seriously consider layoffs.

"Obviously, we're concerned," said Dana Cope, executive director of the State Employees Association.

Cope said state leaders need to improve efficiency, seek more federal help and, possibly, taxes to meet the budget gap.

"When we talk about cuts in personnel, we don't see how we're going to be able to do that and continue to provide the quality of services that taxpayers need in North Carolina," Cope said.