Hundreds of state workers will be jobless by the weekend

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Co-workers say goodbye

PHOENIX - The state is adding to high unemployment numbers.

Hundreds of state workers are now updating their resumes because many will be jobless by the weekend.

The Arizona Department of Revenue laid off dozens of people Thursday and more layoffs are planned for Friday.

People at offices in the east Valley and workers down in Tucson were let go, and more layoffs are planned to take place at the Downtown Phoenix office.

Added to that are the fifty employees laid off earlier this month.

Altogether, close to three hundred of the nine hundred Department of Revenue employees will have been fired during this short month alone.

Ex-employees say job cuts will end up costing the state more down the line.

The parking lot outside the Arizona Department of Revenue was filled with emotional goodbyes.

Former workers lugged out boxes to their cars, filled with the things they thought would always just take up space on their desks.

Using sunglasses to hide the tears, Sandy O'Conner describes the somber mood.

"You prepare for it and you prepare for it," says O'Conner.

"But when it actually happens you are not prepared--especially with the economy the way it is."

O'Conner's whole family has felt the impact of the economic downturn.

Her husband was laid off in October.

Her son is also unemployed.

Hoping to stay afloat as the family's sole bread winner, she must now go home and explain she, too, is jobless.

"It's not like you can just think I am going to just get a new job," says O'Conner.

"They are just not there."

And that is exactly the worry of many people: in this economy, a person cannot simply dust off the resume and find new work tomorrow.

"The biggest thing is how am I going to put food on the table," says former worker Roberta Tekala.

"Unemployment. We weren't making that much money. What am I going to do?"

Vern Crisler believes the state budget will feel the effect of the layoffs.

The department has been reduced by about a third of its size.

He says that will directly impact the amount of revenue it can bring in.

"I brought in or at least audited for a million dollars last year," says Crisler.

"So, when you get rid of your auditors, you don't have any money coming in."

The bulk of the layoffs will come Friday at the Phoenix offices.