From the NY Times:
Faced with a worsening economy, Gov. Jon S. Corzine is considering reducing the state’s work force by 3,000 employees and closing at least one department in the administration as part of his plan to slash up to $2.5 billion from next year’s budget, people who have been briefed on his plans said on Tuesday.
State Senator Barbara Buono, a Democrat from Middlesex County and the chairwoman of the budget committee, said that Mr. Corzine — who will unveil his budget for the new fiscal year next Tuesday — was weighing eliminating the Department of Personnel and pushing for an early retirement package — not layoffs — to save tens of millions of dollars.
“We need to end this longstanding bureaucratic inertia where departments and agencies refuse to face up to wasteful spending practices and a lack of oversight,” Ms. Buono said. “I think we really need to change the mindset of how government operates.”
Administration officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk about the plan, said that up to 3,000 workers could be affected, many of whom would presumably be older and have higher salaries. Some union leaders and lawmakers said, however, that they were wary of the governor’s plans.
“There will probably be reductions in staff,” Mr. Corzine said at a town hall meeting in Atlantic County two weeks ago.
When asked on Tuesday about the possibility of early retirement and the elimination of the Department of Personnel, Mr. Corzine’s press secretary, Lilo Stainton, said that while it was premature to discuss details of the budget, the governor “has made clear that it will include severe cuts, and all options are now being weighed.”