ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — As state lawmakers continue to work to pass the state budget, about 120,000 state workers have not received their paychecks.
Wayne Spence, the President of the New York State Public Employees Federation, spoke out Wednesday and said about half of his 52,000 members have been affected.
“How could this happen?” he asked. “This is unprecedented. How could we not fix this? How could we let all these things happen to members who’ve sacrificed a lot.”
Spence said some workers who haven’t gotten a paycheck work in Tax & Finance, Probation, and the Department of Health.
“If you scheduled that first payment and this is the first of the month, that mortgage check, those car loan payments, all those bills that you probably now have on automatic payment — they can’t get processed because the person who’s taking that money is going to be, you know, no money’s in the account,” he said.
A spokesperson with the Office of the State Comptroller’s Office said they’ve sent warnings about the issue since December.
The office said the following in a statement:
“The Executive and the state Legislature were advised early on that an emergency appropriation or an approved budget is required so that direct deposit and paper checks can be released. This is the long-standing precedent for handling payroll when a budget deadline looms.”
On Tuesday, the State Budget Director said that the State Comptroller had the power to send the checks and that it was a result of a technical problem.
The Office of the State Comptroller said:
“Our office is not experiencing any technical or computer issues. The administrative payroll that falls on April 1 is a single payroll file that includes both lagged and non-lagged state employees.”
“The Comptroller could have paid them yesterday,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said during his Red Room briefing on Wednesday. “We’ve gone through this situation before. He chose not to. He must pay them the moment it passes.”
The Governor also said there was a “conceptual agreement” on the state budget, so that is a good sign that things will be moving soon.