Schwarzenegger cuts state worker jobs, moves to cut pay

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed an executive order today eliminating jobs for as many as 22,000 temporary state employees and reducing pay for about 200,000 state workers to the federal minimum wage of $6.55 per hour, portraying it as a stopgap measure to ensure the state can pay its bills without a state budget.

The Republican governor intends to reverse those moves once lawmakers reach a budget compromise, meaning the state would rehire temporary workers and give employees their entire back pay. The governor’s order also imposes a strict hiring freeze and eliminates overtime but exempts workers in health and safety fields.

Schwarzenegger said the state’s financial situation and the fact that no budget has been signed “leaves me with no easy choices.”

“I have a responsibility to ensure that our state has enough money to pay its bills. This is not an action that I take lightly,” he said.

Rest of story at the Sacrament Bee.

Hmmm…add this to this “Catholic” governor’s list of sins…this one, a sin that cries out to heaven for vengeance: “defrauding a worker of his wages.”

How much can society afford to pay workers and give to the non-workers? When does the reward for work done equal the value received? But, the pay should not be the min wage but what the work is truly worth.

I don’t live in California. But since the pay scale and benefits of our government workers exceed the average non-governmental worker it might be something to look into.

Studies have been done in California and they’ve found that state workers make less than their counterparts in the private sector. Our engineers make far less than their counterparts in CITY civil service, let alone in the private sector.

I’ve got a political science background, and usually the studies show that public sector employees make less than private sector employees, but have marginally better retirement benefits.

It all boils down to this. If we vote to have programs, we also must pay for them. If we do not want programs, we have to make that our fellow citizens who are elected to represent us, know that we do not want the programs.

Very true. In California, for most professional positions (engineers, scientists, computer programmers, managers, etc) the pay and benefits received is significantly less then would be received in the private sector.

Schwarzenegger is now cutting state employees wages to be significantly lower than any other employee in California as federal minimum wage is $6.55, while California minimum wage is $8 and San Francisco minimum wage is $9.36.

Fortunately, we have a State Controller with a good head on his shoulders. He has written the governor a letter that says that he is going to pay employees their full pay and why he has the legal authority to disregard Schwarzenegger’s illegal order.

Also, since state employee unions are currently in contract negotiations, this action on Schwarzenegger’s behalf constitutes an unfair labor practice and could make the State liable for treble damages (that means the salary plus three times whatever is not paid to each employee defrauded).

I wonder if he has taken this into account.

May God have mercy on him.

I’m in California as well. Arnold is evidently mad because he can’t get his budget passed and this is his very imature way of responding and trying to get his way. It’s such a childish thing to go, IMO, and I really hope our Controller follows the law and his conscience and ignores this nonsense by Arnold.

I think you guys are missing the basic concepts at work here.

Assuming California works like the National Government, without a budget passed, it must continue to work off of the budget from last year.

Now it should be common knowledge that the California Government now has higher costs and probably more costs to cover this year than last, if nothing else due to inflation, but likely because the Government has grown in size.

This means there are places where there needs to be money, and yet the money is there. Thus, cuts have to be made to make sure that the Government doesn’t run out of money.

On top of which, it, to me, has been made clear that all pay that is being taken away will be given back, and back payed. So that once a budget is passed, it will be as if none of this happened.

This did happen once on a Federal Level during the Clinton years. My government teacher, who was a Naval Officer at the time said there was serious doubt on if they would get paid each pay period, and if the lights would work each morning they got to the Base.

Actually, things go on. Vendors don’t get paid until there is a budget. There are certain assumptions that are made, however…like agencies will be getting at least what they got the previous fiscal year.

Now it should be common knowledge that the California Government now has higher costs and probably more costs to cover this year than last, if nothing else due to inflation, but likely because the Government has grown in size.

This means there are places where there needs to be money, and yet the money is there. Thus, cuts have to be made to make sure that the Government doesn’t run out of money.

The sad thing is, he is making these job cuts in revenue generating agencies like the Franchise Tax Board. What kind of sense does that make?

On top of which, it, to me, has been made clear that all pay that is being taken away will be given back, and back payed. So that once a budget is passed, it will be as if none of this happened.

No. People will be charged late fees and penalties because they weren’t paid what they are owed. Depending on how long it lasts, people may lose their homes and be put on the street.

Fortunately, our State Controller (who is an independently elected constitutional officer) has a good head on his shoulders and told Schwarzenegger that he is not obligated to comply and will not do so. He gave an awesome legal argument for why what Schwarzenegger did is unlawful and that the governor should devote his attention to working with the legislature ot get a budget, not waste his time on press conferences crying crocodile tears about how tough it is to be taking food out of his employees’ mouths all the while doing so to gain right-wing brownie points.

SNIP

and like I said, many of these agencies probably have more expenses than last year, because quite frankly, that seems to be the only way our bureaucracy knows how to function. As an example, Wikipedia says that the State Board of Equalization employed approximately 3500 people in 2004. On its website it says it employs approximately 3850. I am assuming this indicates a rise in employment, and using those figures, in 4 years the employment has risen by 10%, while as a state, in the same period, population has grown by only 6-7%. Also California has just topped 38 million people this year. and at over 3800 employees, you have a tax employee for every 10,000 people. Even fewer when you consider that you can probably cut the population in at least half for tax paying purposes.

The sad thing is, he is making these job cuts in revenue generating agencies like the Franchise Tax Board. What kind of sense does that make?

Are you telling me that, along with cutting jobs, somehow the taxes have been lowered, come on. The revenue is generated by the Tax, its taken away by the Board, via salaries. And with a quick search I figured out that the members of that Board are the Controller, director of the department of finance, and chair of the State board of equalization. Chances are these aren’t the people being cut to minimum wage. So how are the wage cuts affecting this agency?

No. People will be charged late fees and penalties because they weren’t paid what they are owed. Depending on how long it lasts, people may lose their homes and be put on the street.

I am not going to respond to the first sentence, because I genuinely do not understand what you are getting at. If you can rephrase somehow, I will look into its merit. The second one, that is ludicrous. How long do expect California to not be able to pass a budget? The article says that this wont even matter unless you reach the end of August without passing a budget, as all employees are paid at the end of the month. Secondly, one late payment is not going to kill a persons mortgage, and it is certainly not going to reduce them to zero net worth begging on the street. Although, Im sure this is probably hurting children and the environment too if it helps the case.

Fortunately, our State Controller (who is an independently elected constitutional officer) has a good head on his shoulders and told Schwarzenegger that he is not obligated to comply and will not do so. He gave an awesome legal argument for why what Schwarzenegger did is unlawful and that the governor should devote his attention to working with the legislature ot get a budget, not waste his time on press conferences crying crocodile tears about how tough it is to be taking food out of his employees’ mouths all the while doing so to gain right-wing brownie points.

Why do you even have a State Controller? It appears as if he is just an elected mirror of the Secretary of Treasury

Another case of balancing the budget on the backs of the poor. Why doesn’t the governor take a pay cut? This would take the initiative right at the top and really help to trim the expenses without leaving anyone else in an impossible position to live.

Look my previous post was mostly tongue in cheek. But, it might be time that each and every government job from local to national be evaluated as to need and constitutionality.

The private sector tend to do things better, pay more and not work on the backs of the poor or mid class. Personally I would like charity and education to be left to the private sector and keep government out of it.

Ok. I am a state social worker in Oklahoma. To get my job one needs a B.A. degree or better as well as relevant experience.
Yes, I have benefits. I have state insurance which is partly paid for and I handle all co-pays.
Yes, I get state holidays off paid.
Yes, I am alloted some sick leave and annual leave to be used as needed.
Yes, I will have some retirement which the state and I both pay into. Fortunately I am putting small amounts of money into annuities and other retirement plans as well as it would not be sufficient for a real retirement.
But in no way are the state employees of Oklahoma paid as much as professionals in our industry in the private section.
My husband with no degree and three years in his business makes more than twice what I do.
My daughter just out of college working for a private concern made 8,000.00 more yearly than I do with very similar benefits. I have been working for the state since 1994.
My son out of college for just a few years makes more than twice what I earn.
Oklahoma Social workers are spat upon, screamed at, have their cars defaced in the state parking lots, and are responsible for them own legal costs when citizens sue them.
However those of us who feel it is important work stay with it. Our turn over in our business is dreadful.
We obviously don’t stay for the money. And while the benefits are great many don’t see that as such a terrific enhancement. Many who go to work for the state barely make it out of the 6 months to 1 year probation before quitting for a more lucrative private sector job.
Good luck Governor. I hope you can afford medical assistance, day care assistance and food stamps for your workers and their families. Many of them will need it.
P.S. We have tried privatizing some of our agency work. It costs more and less has gotten done. And the poor suffered.

Most anything the goverment does, can be contracted out for less money. In most cases, the workers actually get more for their labor thereby.

That being said, there’s a kind of poetic justice in what happened to Schwartzenegger. When someone does something crooked and succeeds, we get angry. But when someone attempts something crooked and ends up hurting himself, we tend to laugh at him.

There’s a YouTube clip where a criminal decides to throw a rock though a jewelry store window. He didn’t realize that it was polycarbonate. The rock bounced off and knocked him out, as recorded by the security camera.

Arnold must have a really sore noggin about now. A politician can survive almost anything but people laughing at him.

Notice how he didn’t volunteer either himself or any of his fellow politicians to take pay cut to help the state out.

That’s because he does the job for free.

Annual Salary for California Governor: Governor Salaries in 2007

Being governor may sound like a high annual salary position, but governor salaries don’t always pay as much as one might think. In a recent report of governor salaries, stateline.org cited the average governor salary to be $124,398. The annual salary for California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is the highest in the governor salary ranking, $206,500, but he does not accept his salary (he did pretty well in Hollywood, if I recall). As I mentioned in a previous column, Salary Increases in the News, Schwarzenegger has been generous to his top state officials, upping their salaries, often in the face of criticism.

Schwarzenegger has never accepted pay for being governor. His pay goes right back into the state coffers. The other politicians have not received any pay since July 1st.

Both the FTB and the Board of Equalization are revenue generating agencies that collect taxes. FTB is akin to the IRS and the BOE is akin to Customs (they collect sales taxes and other fees). If FTB lays off workers, then their ability to go after tax cheats is diminished bringing in less money to the state, exacerbating the fiscal problem.

Considering Schwarzenegger’s devotion to Norquist-style right-wing Republicanism, that could very well be his goal.

I am not going to respond to the first sentence, because I genuinely do not understand what you are getting at. If you can rephrase somehow, I will look into its merit. The second one, that is ludicrous. How long do expect California to not be able to pass a budget? The article says that this wont even matter unless you reach the end of August without passing a budget, as all employees are paid at the end of the month. Secondly, one late payment is not going to kill a persons mortgage, and it is certainly not going to reduce them to zero net worth begging on the street. Although, Im sure this is probably hurting children and the environment too if it helps the case.

Perhaps my English isn’t up to snuff for you?

If a person doesn’t get their paycheck and cannot pay their bills, then that person is going to charge late fees and penalties.

Is that clear? Does that make sense? Do you need it in a better format? Perhaps in Spanish?

It’s not just people missing mortgage payments. If a person cannot pay rent, then they’re out of a home.

Why do you even have a State Controller? It appears as if he is just an elected mirror of the Secretary of Treasury

The State Treasurer and the State Controller have different functions. The treasurer is in like the chief investments officer of the state. The controller basically writes the checks for state business. BOTH are independently elected Constitutional Officers of the State of California. They operate independently of the Governor as they, too, are elected directly by the people of California.

I already pointed out that the state already seems to have more than enough people to handle such cases. with one employee for every 10,000 people. or one for every roughly 2,900 families(assuming all people are parts of a family unit, at the average size of 3.5 people). And since the number of people who attempt to cheat the system is low. That seems like more than enough people.

Perhaps my English isn’t up to snuff for you?

If a person doesn’t get their paycheck and cannot pay their bills, then that person is going to charge late fees and penalties.

Is that clear? Does that make sense? Do you need it in a better format? Perhaps in Spanish?

It’s not just people missing mortgage payments. If a person cannot pay rent, then they’re out of a home.

ok, To me it sounded like the government was going to charge them for not being paid. This way makes more sense. First, like I said before, there are still 30 days before this even matters, since they are paid at the end of the month. Secondly, I doubt that these people have $0 built up for “just in case” situations. Most landlords aren’t going to kick a person out if they are late on just one payment either. Generally people do have a heart to understand that there is a problem.

The State Treasurer and the State Controller have different functions. The treasurer is in like the chief investments officer of the state. The controller basically writes the checks for state business. BOTH are independently elected Constitutional Officers of the State of California. They operate independently of the Governor as they, too, are elected directly by the people of California.

And why aren’t those two jobs able to be done by one person?

On top of which, would you like to defend why a state government even needs over a quarter million employees? And, probably more than a million

My biggest problem with these types of solutions is that they always seem to hurt those at the bottom. I am a state employee (although not in California) and if my state did this, I would be fine, because I have been employed for quite some time and I have money in the bank to weather the storm. But if I was first starting out and trying to recover from my student loans, such activity could be quite painful.

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