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Judge to weigh arguments over furloughs

ALBANY — Lawyers for Gov. David A. Paterson on Wednesday argued the state’s cash crisis justifies furloughing about 100,000 union workers one day a week.

U.S. District Judge Lawrence Kahn temporarily blocked furloughs, finding the state has a legitimate interest in addressing its fiscal problems, but workers would be harmed. He will analyze whether the government’s approach is “reasonable and necessary.”

Budget Director Robert Megna stated in court papers that numerous other costs have been cut to help deal with declining tax revenues. He says the door is open for unions to find alternative, comparable savings.

The Civil Service Employees Association argues there is no emergency to justify setting aside negotiated contract terms.