State may offer early retirement to thousands to close budget shortfall; layoffs possible

Thousands of state employees could receive incentives to retire early under a proposal Gov. Charlie Baker hopes will help plug a sizeable deficit in the next state budget.

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Secretary of Administration and Finance Kristen Lepore said Monday she was hoping about 4,500 workers will opt for early retirement, saving the state about $178 million in the fiscal year starting July 1. Workers who are age 55 or older and have at least 20 years of state government service would be eligible.

Baker plans to file a bill on Wednesday, the same day he's scheduled to submit his full budget request to the Democratic-controlled Legislature.

House Speaker Robert DeLeo said lawmakers would review Baker's proposal. But he added that other early retirement proposals have been rejected in the past because they were not in the state's best fiscal interests.

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Information from: The Boston Globe, http://www.bostonglobe.com