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State workforce not immediately affected by federal shutdown

By Tom Precious

ALBANY -– Despite the federal government shutdown, state officials say they see no immediate furloughs coming of the nearly 10,000 state employees whose salaries are funded in whole or part by federal money.

The state budget adopted earlier this year includes a table listing at 9,775 the number of state employees with paychecks funded by Washington. Most –- 3,291 workers -– are employed at the state Department of Labor, though the state education department has 1,301 federally funded workers, and the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance lists 990 workers funded by the federal government. The health department has 1,191 federally funded employees.

The Cuomo administration declined comment today.

But Jennifer Freeman, a spokeswoman for state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, said most of the federally funded salaries are already funded through the fiscal year, though some had funds available only until the end of September.

"If there is a prolonged shutdown, then states will have to evaluate what they’re going to do," she said.

Freeman said that in a limited number of cases where federal funds have not been sent in advance to Albany, the state may have to consider floating Washington the money for the workers’ salaries until the shutdown dispute is resolved.

Other state agencies with more than 200 workers on the payroll funded by the federal government include corrections, children and family services, information technology, environmental conservation, the Medicaid inspector general and the division of military and naval affairs.

The 9,775 number of state workers funded by the federal government in the 2013 budget is up from 8,505 positions in 2011, according to the state’s enacted budget plan.

The comptroller’s office listed the number of federal employees working in New York State at 116,000, according to federal statistics. Social programs, such as child nutrition, social services block grants, temporary assistance for needy families and low-income energy assistance grants, are likely to be affected by a prolonged shutdown, however.

Other programs, such as Head Start, depend on the time period of the beginning of a grant. The state’s largest health care program, Medicaid, is pre-funded by Washington for the first quarter of the federal government’s fiscal year, the comptroller’s office said.


Albany | Andrew Cuomo
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About Politics Now

Robert J. McCarthy

Robert J. McCarthy

A native of Schenectady, Robert J. McCarthy came to The Buffalo News in 1982 following a six-year stint at the Olean Times Herald. He is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and has been covering local, state and national politics since 1992.

Tom Precious

Tom Precious

Tom Precious joined The Buffalo News in 1997 as bureau chief at the state Capitol, where he covers everything from statewide politics and state government fiscal affairs to health care, environmental and municipal government matters. Prior to The News, he worked for news outlets in Albany and Washington, DC.

Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri is an Amherst native and has covered politics and government in upstate New York since 2003. She joined The Buffalo News in 2012 and covers City Hall.

@jillterreri |

Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski, The Buffalo News Washington bureau chief, has reported from the nation's capital since 1989 after joining The News as a business reporter in 1984. A graduate of Syracuse University, Zremski is a former Nieman fellow in journalism at Harvard University. In 2007, he served as president of the National Press Club.

@JerryZremski |