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Short Term Pain, Long Term Gain

The state budget ax is about to fall and, barring some sort of miracle, Queens will feel its share of the pain. It is rumored that in his Feb. 1 budget address, Gov. Andrew Cuomo will call for the layoffs of 5,000 to 15,000 state workers.

The good news — if you want to call it that — is that the governor is confident he can reach a deal with the state Legislature that will head off a shutdown of state government. If that happens, only emergency services will continue to operate. Most state employees will not get paid, including the legislators. They have a lot of incentive not to let that happen. Among those hoping it will not happen are the unions representing state employees.

Asked last week about the possibility of a shutdown, the new governor replied, “Is it possible? Yes. Is it probable? In my opinion, no.”

In essence, said the governor, “The chickens are coming home to roost.” He said his budget address will call for “short-term pain” to create “long-term gain.”

Legislators on both sides of the aisle in Albany should realize that the governor’s hands are tied. The state has to have a balanced budget and tax increases are no longer an option. The only alternative is to reduce spending. If the only way to do this is to lay off large numbers of workers, then so be it.

Unsung Heroes

Since the December blizzard and the two smaller snowstorms that followed, one group of workers has seen their jobs become more difficult. U.S. postal carriers have spent three weeks sliding down icy sidewalks and climbing through snow drifts.

Although most sidewalks are shoveled, getting from the mail truck to the sidewalk can be a challenge. On many streets in Queens the December snow remains piled high along the curbs. Just finding a place to park the trucks and scooters has to be tiring.

Nevertheless, we have not heard complaints about mail delivery. Except for the day after the blizzard, the mail got through.

The work of the Postal Service is most often taken for granted, but this is a good time to thank the men and women who deliver our letters, magazines and bills each day.

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