Lawmakers consider Baker Administration’s early retirement program

22News found out how many people could be affected, and how it's supposed to save the state money

(AP Photo/Steven Senne)

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP/AP)- Governor Charlie Baker has proposed early retirement for thousands of state workers to help balance next years budget.

House Speaker, Robert DeLeo told 22News, “I was skeptical because I wasn’t sure how it was going to be accomplished.”

Governor Charlie Baker is seeking to reduce the budget gap by about $1.5 billion without tapping into the reserves or raising taxes. Instead he’s looking to reduce the executive branch staffing by 4,500 with early retirement.  The point is to save about $178 million if those positions are vacated, but this has been done before.

Senate President, Stanley Rosenberg said, “They backfilled all of the positions within a couple of years. And so there was a short term savings. But a long term cost.”

The question is now how many of these jobs will be refilled?

“Limit the number of people who can come back and refill those positions of the people that will be lost to some twenty percent.  So that’s where you get the savings,” DeLeo said.

So it’s been passed in the House, but the Senate has to decide. “Will we lose critical public services as a result of only backfilling twenty percent of those jobs? And the Senate is in the process of analyzing that right now,” Rosenberg said.

Executive branch employees would add five years to their years of service or their age if they retire early.

The early retirements would fall between April 6th and May 29th.

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