On August 17, Chicago held a reduced-service day. City Hall, public libraries, health clinics and most other city offices were closed in efforts to save money. (PHOTO CREDIT: Scott Olson/GETTY IMAGES)
FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
Rhode Island plans to shut down the state government for 12 days as a way of dealing with severe financial problems.
The plan, laid out by Governor Don Carcieri, is expected to save $22 million in a state struggling with a 12.7 percent unemployment rate and the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in tax collections as a result of the economic recession.
The plan is for 81 percent of the state workforce to stay home without pay one day a month for 12 months. The first day is scheduled for next week.
The Governor said there is no other option. He said he would consider other ideas if they could also save $22 million. He said the state can't lay off anymore employees since positions were cut last year and he has ruled out a tax increase.
Essential employees, including prison guards and state police, will work on these days.
Rhode Island isn't the first state to make this kind of move. At least 19 other states have furloughed employees or considered doing so in order to survive the current economic crisis.
In Maryland, state employees will be forced to take as many as 10 days without pay and 200 will be fired and left to spend every day off until they can find another job.
And in California, state employees had been forced to take every other Friday off and a third Friday was added to that this summer.
The workload presumably remains the same as people are getting a day less of pay. Probably doesn't do much for morale.
Here’s my question to you: Should periodic government shutdowns become a permanent way to save money?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
Jeff from Houston, Texas writes:
Perhaps. Here is a better question Jack: Would anyone notice?
Shutting down the government only fuels the recession. Some trimming should be done (like do we really need home mail delivery on Saturdays?) but shutting down government only hurts the employees who then hurt the economy by not having money to spend.
Jack, I am a single parent that works for our local water agency. I am already paying an additional $700.00 per month for health insurance (started 6/1/09) and we are not receiving a raise this year. We are now being forced to take the week between Christmas and New Year's off. I can't find a second job to pay for all this. Contrary to what some say, we work our butts off!
Katie from Pekin, Illinois writes:
The American people working for private industries have to tighten their belts while wondering daily if they have a job. Why should government employees not have to sacrifice also? The perks, retirements, etc. they receive put private industry to shame, so, asking them to be part of the solution is a no brainer.
Sue from Redwood City, California writes:
How about starting with permanently getting rid of all these cushy extra paid holidays that government workers get such as Veterans Day and Martin Luther King to save money? We taxpayers have to pay for them to get these extra holidays that we don't get for ourselves. It's unfair, discriminatory and a major inconvenience for the rest of us. These extra holidays can be changed to honorary government recognition days but the government workers shouldn't get to take them off with pay.
John from Lancaster, Pennsylvania writes:
Jack, if the state shuts down for 12 days, does that mean you get to deduct 12 days of state taxes?
Dear Jack, I am a Nevada state employee not working today because today is my furlough day. I have another 22 more over the next two years. I would not mind so much, but top management and the elected (Governor, Lt. Gov., etc) officials did not extend the same benefit to themselves!