State Treasurer Tim Cahill, an independent candidate for governor, said Friday that “significant’’ layoffs may be necessary to be sure the state is operating within its means.
“We have to work to live within our means, and part of that’s going to mean significant layoffs at the state level,” Cahill told people at the Good Morning MetroWest Networking Breakfast at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Natick..
“I will focus on making sure state bureaucrats are either working, or - if they’re not working - not working, before we force cities and towns to lay off police, fires, and teachers.”
Cahill was speaking in response to a question about what he would do to cut expenses at a state level. He said he would look at areas to cut across the board, including healthcare costs and unneeded state jobs.
Cahill spokewoman Amy Birmingham said Cahill is not yet ready to give specific numbers on state jobs that would be cut.
"He was saying we need to look at it as an option," Birmingham said. "It's to make sure that anybody who is employed (by the state) is held accountable for the work they're expected to do."
In his remarks at the breakfast, which was sponsored by the Metro West Chamber of Commerce and Staples, Cahill said that the state should borrow a page from the Red Sox playbook to boost the economy.
The Red Sox curse only ended after the team started to focus on the pitchers, giving them a strong defense, said Cahill. The same kind of approach can be applied to the role Massachusetts government should play in improving the economy.
“The focus needs to be for government, in my mind, our defense, not our offense,” he said.
Cahill said private businesses, not the government, should be in charge of job creation, but the government can play a strong defense by cutting costs and keeping businesses in the state.
“We need to look at an overall plan, and we need to look at our ERA,” Cahill said, referring to the earned run average, meaning the average number of earned runs that a pitcher allows during nine innings. “I define ERA in terms of business as the cost of doing business.”
In order to improve the state’s earned run average, he said Massachusetts should lower taxes such as the corporate tax rate, the capital gains tax, and the income tax. He also advocated bringing down the costs of unemployment insurance.
“We need to bring these taxes down so we can be more competitive,” he said.