Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is threatening to defer wages for 200,000 state employees, paying them federal minimum wage until lawmakers reach a budget deal.This wasn't a good move by the Governator. He is seen as taking his frustrations with the Demunists in the Legislature out upon the hapless state employees. Then again, the Governator championed an irresponsbile orgy of bond spending and implemented what will be costly and utterly phony programs to stop the "climate change" hoax, so I have no sympathy for him either.
But the plan has state workers upset with the Schwarzenegger.
"He's turning a budget process into a budget catastrophe," said Yvonne Walker, president of the Service Employees International Union.
SEIU workers are expected to hold a rally at the Capitol as soon as noon today.
A spokesman for the governor, Aaron McLear, said the idea is one of several options Schwarzenegger is considering as California faces a cash shortfall.
"Everybody agrees that we're going to run out of cash very soon," McLear said.
The governor is contemplating signing an executive order next week that would pay state workers the federal minimum of $6.55 an hour. That amount is $1.45 an hour less than California's minimum wage.
This move, along with some other measures, would possibly save the state $500 million a month in the near term.
But state workers said they would suffer.
"I'm already really struggling, and it's all I can do to get by each month," one worker said.
Some speculated that the plan may just be a bluff by the governor to get lawmakers to resolve the lingering budget battle.
"That makes me even more angry, because the reality is, why would you have people going through this kind of panic if it's not something that's real?" Walker added.
But the governor's staff said the plan is not a ploy, adding that the state faces a very real money crunch.
1. Why was there no State “hiring freeze” months ago? A state hiring freeze means no new positions. There *are* actual new hires in some places here and there, but the State workforce shrinks due to attrition. This tactic has been done by Governors again and again. Governor Wilson had one in place for most of his term! Yet only now is Ah-nold implementing one? Where has he been all these months? It had been clear for some time that the state wasn't going to balance its budget.
2. Why are there no "Overhead Savings" moves. Keep paying the non-essential state employees, but send them home, shut the buildings and other facilities down, and still save money on overhead. The state employees might actually love Ah-nold for this paid vacation. (This method of “cutting programs” was actually suggested back in the heady days of the Gingrich Revolution so that the Federal civil service would not object).
Meanwhile, Demunist State Controller John Chiang is posing as protector of the hapless state workers:
I will urge the Governor to rethink his proposal and work with us to ensure we manage our state finances in a responsible, realistic and honest manner.
For these many reasons, I have no intention of complying with the Order and continue to encourage you to work with the Legislature...
Gee Johnny, you're not a legislator, you're the Controller. Ah-nold has to work with the Legislature to pass a budget, and how can Ah-nold do that when the Demunist leaders of the Legislature have recessed themselves until next week?
Not only is John Chiang just plain wrong about the governor's authority to make pay cuts (state employees are part of the Executive branch), his pompous arrogance is revolting.
Not that this lets Ah-nold off the hook.
Sigh. Between Commiecrat legislative leaders, a RINO Republican Governor who fiddled with frivolous bonds while the situation got worse and worse, and the occassional pompous blowhards like John Chiang, we are truly screwed.