Monday, August 25, 2008

They're Our Employees

When June 30 came and went without a FY08-09 budget, the Governator proposed reducing state employees' wages to the federal minimum, which is $6.55/hour, with the difference to be paid after the budget was passed. The State Controller (who signs the checks) refused to comply, saying that temporarily reducing and then reinstating state workers' pay would be very difficult to do. Arnold sued.

Driving home while listening to the California Report on Arnold's proposal, I was thinking that really, the salaries of the legislators should be reduced to minimum wage. I thought that might help focus their minds. While looking up how much Cali state legislators get paid, I found this report, which shocked me. I wrote the following to my governor:

Dear Governor:

Will some of the 200,000 state employees whose wages are being reduced to $6.55 an hour include the legislators? Maybe then all parties will agree to focus on the issue until there is a solution, making one appear more quickly. I understand that you already decline your salary, or I would suggest that yours be reduced as well. If the lowest paid state employees' incomes are reduced, then those of the highest paid, including UC and CSU executives, state investment officers, and the legislature, should be as well.

I suggest that the salaries of those whose total is over $100,000 per year be reduced. Even reducing those incomes just by half would save a lot of money, and those people would still be able to buy milk and gasoline.

I then sent this email to my representative in Sacramento, asking her to note that my proposal would include each of them. I got a form email back thanking me for my interest in the budget and squarely blaming the Republicans' for the lack of a resolution.

They are 56 days late on a budget, and nothing is getting done in Sac because the Governator has refused to sign anything into law until the state has a budget. In the meantime, twenty-five legislators have left for Denver to attend the made-for-TV scripted spectacle that is the Democratic National Convention, just as, I'm sure, the other 15 will head out for Minneapolis-St. Paul next week.

I'm outraged. These people work for us! I want to yell at them, "Get back to work NOW!"

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