Within the next few days, the Governor’s budget office is expected to direct all state agencies, including the Department of Corrections, to create a contingency plan that prepares for up to 15% across-the-board budget cuts for the 2015-2017 biennium.
The Governor’s office has indicated that the cuts may be necessary to offset the projected budget shortfall and to comply with the Supreme Court’s McCleary decision to fully fund K-12 education.
The State’s budget crisis is very real, but the answer to the crisis is not further cuts at the Department of Corrections.
Since 2010, the State has cut $220 million from the DOC and closed three prisons. Meanwhile the prison offender population has tripled in the past two decades. Now the DOC is preparing for additional cuts of up to $200 million – a staggering amount that represents significantly more than the total operating budget of the entire Monroe Correctional Complex.
Whatever plan the Department develops, it is hard to imagine how any additional cuts can be made to the DOC without seriously jeopardizing staff safety and public safety.
This is a monumental challenge for Teamsters at DOC. It will require every member to get involved in the fight to preserve jobs and protect staff and the safety of our communities. Standing on the sidelines is not an option.
The State’s revenue forecast will be formally released on June 17 and again in mid-September. Your Union’s financial experts will be carefully analyzing the forecasts as they relate to the budget, and we are considering all possible legal action including filing a lawsuit and unfair labor practice charges.
Continue to monitor your Local Union’s website at www.teamsters117.org for updates. When the time to take action comes, we will let you know.