February 27, 2004

STATE RESPONDS TO COUNTY PLEA FOR EARLY RETIREMENT INCENTIVE

     Responding to the call made by Erie County Legislators in a resolution approved February 5th, the New York State Assembly and Senate have introduced legislation which would allow Erie County to offer an early retirement incentive.

     "The adopted 2004 Erie County budget was based on the assumption that New York State would offer an early retirement incentive," said Chairman George A. Holt, Jr. (D-Buffalo). "Without this incentive, the County Executive has indicated he would have to lay off hundreds of public employees to balance the budget."

     The 2004 County budget assumes that $33 to $35 million in cost savings will occur through the early retirement of at least 400 County employees, the reengineering of several County department and changes in the County's employee health insurance program.

     In addition to the state legislation Governor George E. Pataki has also introduced a local government early retirement incentive as part of his budget amendments.

     "By working with the State we will determine how we can best proceed with providing an early retirement incentive that protects the public workforce and addresses the approximately $17 million budget gap we would face without this program," said Majority Leader Lynn Marinelli (D-Tonawanda/Buffalo).

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