Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is threatening to lower the wages of about 200,000 California state workers to the federal minimum wage of $6.55 an hour until a budget is passed. State Controller John Chiang disapproves of this action and has countered that his office will continue to pay current salaries unless he receives a court order. "Forcing public servants to involuntarily loan the state cash by foregoing their hard-earned paychecks puts an untenable burden on our teachers, health care workers and those who provide critical public services," said Chiang. Also, the SEIU, which represents about 95,000 of these workers, is threatening legal action to stop this move.
Unfortunately, it looks like there is a legal precedent to the plan. A 2003 California Supreme Court decision says that the controller is only allowed to issue checks for minimum wage workers if a state budget is not in place. However, this is still the wrong action to take. Since when is punishing the victim the right choice? It is the state legislature that is failing to pass a state budget. The Democratic and Republican politicians are failing to compromise on issues regarding tax cuts and decreased spending. They are already about a month late in passing this budget for the new fiscal year that began July 1st. With a new deadline of August 1st approaching, they are cutting it so close that Gov. Schwarzenegger has to get them moving somehow. But, the best way to do that is not by threatening the pay of nurses, janitors, and other service workers. The best solution is to threaten the pay of the politicians who are being lackadaisical about their job duties. This might be the only way to get them to understand how important a passed state budget really is.
3 hours ago