Thousands pf Pennsylvania state employees including those in the state insurance and motor vehicle departments were back on the job Tuesday after a one-day shutdown.
The employees were called back to work after a tentative state budget deal was announced Monday night.
Gov. Ed Rendell had ordered the furlough of some 25,000 state employees as a political deadlock delayed approval of the state budget more than a week into the new fiscal year.
Rendell announced that a tentative budget agreement was reached with legislative leaders just after 9 p.m. Monday. He said the pact meant nearly 25,000 furloughed state employees would return to work at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday and transportation, including Pennsylvania’s network of highways, bridges and mass transit systems, will be “well-financed for the next 15 to 20 years.”
“I am pleased to announce that as a result of earnest and sometimes difficult negotiations, we have achieved an important agreement that will allow Pennsylvania’s government operations to be restored and all furloughed employees to return to work,” Rendell said. “While I regret that we were not able to reach this accord earlier, I am gratified that we have agreed in principle to a spending plan that will continue to move Pennsylvania forward.”
Rendell thanked legislative leaders and budget negotiators from both chambers of the General Assembly. Members of the legislature are expected to begin considering the budget legislation this week.
The furlough closed state parks, museums and driver-license offices. Critical services such as health care for the poor, state police patrols and prisons were maintained by the 52,000 workers whose jobs were designated as critical.
The employees on furlough Monday lost wages of $3.5 million, according to Rendell’s Office of Administration. Rendell said efforts will be made to “lessen the impact” of state employees’ lost wages.
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