HARRISBURG -- Gov. Ed Rendell announced today that 255 more state workers will be laid off as of Aug. 28 because of ongoing state budget problems.
Added to the 218 layoffs that have been made since February, it brings the total number of layoffs this year to 473.
And in addition, 836 workers haven't been replaced due to an ongoing hiring freeze ordered by Mr. Rendell. So, since the freeze began last October, the state has 1,091 fewer workers.
The 255 layoffs made this month come from numerous state agencies, including agriculture, community and economic development, education, executive agencies, health, insurance, revenue and the history and museum commission.
Twenty-one of the latest workers losing their jobs live in Allegheny County; three live in Beaver, one in Butler, two in Washington and four in Westmoreland. The highest number of laidoff workers live in Dauphin and Cumberland counties, which are closest to the state capital.
The 218 layoffs made earlier this year include 125 workers from the Scotland School for Veterans Children in Franklin County, which the governor is closing; 83 workers from the Scranton School for the Deaf, a state facility that Mr. Rendell is also closing; and 10 workers from the Pennsylvania Public TV network.
Mr. Rendell and Senate Republicans are still locked in a budget impasse that shows no signs of letting up. Mr. Rendell is proposing a budget of $28.2 billion for fiscal 2009-10, which began July 1, while Republicans want a spending package in the range of $27.1 billion to $27.3 billion.
Mr. Rendell claims as many as 6,000 state workers may have to be laid off if the no-tax-increase Republican budget is enacted. He wants legislators to approve an increase in some major recurring form of revenue, either the sales tax or income tax, to avoid layoffs of that size, but the GOP says now isn't the time to increase tax burden on citizens.
Tom Barnes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.