Tax commission, ABLE among state agencies to furlough workers

Saturday, May 18th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ The Oklahoma Tax Commission and the Oklahoma Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement Commission are latest state agencies to announce furloughs because of cuts in state funding.

The Tax Commission said Friday it will furlough all of its approximately 1,100 employees for an estimated three days.

The ABLE Commission said it will place its 63 employees on a two-day furlough between Friday and June 30, said executive director Gary Davidson.

Tax Commission officials will meet next week to discuss how to ``minimize disruptions'' at that agency, said spokeswoman Paula Ross.

``We are going to try to work out a work flow so we can keep the monies deposited,'' Ross said. ``Some things will backlog.''

The exact dates of the furloughs have not been determined but will be between June 1 and June 30, she said.

The Oklahoma Tax Commission is trying to trim its budget by $880,000, while the ABLE commission is trying to reduce its budget by $71,000.

The ABLE commission also voted to eliminate pay given to employees who obtain special training for the months of April, May and June, Davidson said.

``I can't imagine anyone would be happy with it,'' he said. ``I have spoken with several of the employees. Their attitude is very admirable and kind of reflects why they got into state service to begin with.

``It wasn't for the money. It was because they wanted to make a difference.''

The reductions are necessary because the budgets of state agencies are being cut almost 17 percent in May and June because of a dip in tax collections, including sales and income taxes.

The Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services on Thursday announced it would furlough most of its 1,875 employees for three days in the next six weeks because of budget cuts.

Nurses, patient care assistants and food services workers will be exempt, officials said.

Other agencies considering furloughs include the Oklahoma Historical Society, Office of Juvenile Affairs, Department of Tourism and Recreation and Department of Corrections.