An Associated Press analysis shows that Gov. Tim Pawlenty's budget proposal would cut the equivalent of more than 1,100 full-time state workers within about two years.
The projections are detailed in hundreds of pages of agency budget overviews.
The figures can't be translated directly into job cuts because they include overtime and part-time work.
Even so, they point to lighter payrolls at Minnesota's largest single employer as unemployment swells. The biggest staffing reductions are slated for the state courts, Human Services Department and Revenue Department.
The Republican governor's budget is subject to negotiations with Democrats who control the Legislature. No one has ruled out state layoffs as they confront a $4.8 billion deficit that is likely to get bigger.
Governor Pawlenty's spokesman Brian McClung said he couldn't give a specific number of job cuts but said it could be in the hundreds.
"We do expect there will be some lay-offs in state government," McClung said. "State governmenthas to reflect the economic reality that's being felt by businesses and families around Minnesota but from Governor Pawlenty's perspective, we want to minimize the number of lay-offs by implementing a state government wage freeze."
The director of the state's largest employee union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees said they would be willing to freeze wages but only if Pawlenty promises no lay offs.
Eliot Seide, the director of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 6, couldn't confirm the analysis by the Associated Press. Seide acknowledged, however, that cuts could occur. He said he'd consider Pawlenty's wage freeze proposal if Pawlenty also makes concessions.
"If the governor wants a wage freeze then he needs to propose no lay-offs," Seide said. "AFSCME members earn $38,000 on average and like every other Minnesotan, we're struggling paycheck to paycheck and shouldn't have to sacrifice alone as corporate taxes are cut in half."
Potential state employee cuts in Pawlenty budget:
- The equivalent of 1,116 full-time employees would be cut within about two years.
- State employment would drop from just under 37,000 full-time equivalents to about 35,800.
- The state trial courts, Supreme Court and Court of Appeals together would lose 408 positions.
- The Department of Human Services is projected to lose 306.
- Other projected cuts include the equivalent of 134 full-time positions at the Department of Revenue, 99 at the Department of Veterans Affairs and 63 at the Department of Health.
- The ranks of public defenders would be thinned by 40 full-time positions.
- Smaller staffing reductions would hit everything from the Agriculture Department to the Board of Barber and Cosmetologist Examiners and the Board of Water and Soil Resources.
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)