Thousands of state employees idled by unpaid furlough day

LANSING, MI – Friday began a four-day weekend for 13,400 state workers. It is the sixth and final unpaid furlough day they've been forced to take this summer to save the state $22 million.

State troopers, prison guards, public health workers, and unemployment claims operators are exempt from the furloughs.

Governor Granholm says the furlough Fridays have posed a hardship on taxpayers wanting to renew their driver's licenses, or who are looking for help from a human services office. She says it's also been tough on the workers who've given up six days pay.

"There's no doubt that there has been inconveniences, but there's also no doubt that we don't have the funds to continue operating business as usual, so we've got to do something to make sure that we bridge the gap," she said.

The governor says state employees and taxpayers will be called on to make more sacrifices to help the state weather its budget crisis. She says that could include more furlough days in 2010.