You Can't Get a Driver's License in New Jersey

The state's first forced furlough for state workers will close MVC offices.

You can't get a driver's license Monday in New Jersey.

More than 2,400 state workers were forced to take the day off, without pay. Motor Vehicle Commission offices across the state are closed due to the state-mandated furlough.

The unpaid day off is Governor Jon Corzine's way of cutting cost to help balance the state budget during the recession.

MVC employees are planning to protest outside offices in Newark. Their union says the furloughs don't save money because the MVC is self-funded through fees.

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Six of the state's unions fought the furloughs in court last month, but lost. They argued the governor had no authority to make workers take unpaid leave.

"I am pleased the court agreed that furloughs can be used as a cost-savings alternative to permanent layoffs. The court has affirmed that the national economic crisis has created imminent peril for state finances," the governor said after the ruling. "This ruling is in concert with my commitment to closing New Jersey's budget gap without putting thousands of state employees out of work and onto the unemployment lines."

The governor had said he would lay off up to 9,000 of the state's 66,000 executive branch workers if the unions did not agree to 12 additional furlough days and wage givebacks for the fiscal year that starts July 1. The workers are due a 3.5 percent negotiated pay raise on that date.

Estimates vary on how much the furloughs will save the state. The treasury department estimates the savings at less than $25 million; the unions say it will save only about $8 million.

By the way, you can still get your car inspected Monday if that's on your to-do list. The vehicle inspection centers are not affected by the furloughs because they are privately operated.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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