State employees offered buyout packages to avoid layoffs

Retirement-eligible employees were offered a one-time $15,000 buyout package

BOSTON (WWLP) – In an effort to balance the budget, the Baker-Polito administration offered roughly 42,000 state employees the opportunity to voluntarily leave the public sector in exchange for a buyout package. Layoffs could be underway if not enough employees take the deal.

“Depending on what we achieve in this time frame will depend on whether layoffs will be necessary,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito (R-Massachusetts).

Employees eligible for retirement were offered a one-time $15,000 buyout package, all other employees–$5,000. Governor Baker said mid-year budget cuts could be necessary because state tax collections are coming in below expectations.

22News asked Longmeadow state Senator Eric Lesser whether the lawmakers should consider raising taxes in order to balance the budget. He said, “Savings is the number one way we do it. If we have to do it by raising revenues in certain places, that’s certainly on the table as well, and I would encourage both the administration and the legislature to look at every option.”

State employees have until November 14 to make their decision.

Two areas will be spared from the budget cuts, according to the Baker administration: unrestricted local aid to cities and towns and funding for the Department of Children and Families.