Controller refuses to cut state workers’ pay

July 1, 2010

John Chiang

State Controller John Chiang announced Thursday that he would strongly defy Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s order to pay state workers minimum wage “until the courts hand down a final resolution.” [LA Times]

Earlier in the day, the governor had ordered all state workers to be paid the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour until the new state budget is passed.

However, Democrat Chiang responded to the governor by saying pay cuts “will do nothing to solve the budget deficit” because state employees are entitled to back pay once a budget is in place. Chiang dismissed the move by Schwarzenegger as “political tricks.”

This drama has played out before. The governor sued Chiang in 2008 to try and force him to pay only the federal minimum wage to state employees. Schwarzenegger won the first round in court, but Chiang is appealing and no higher court decision has been issued.

Whatever the ruling, an appeal is expected to the California Supreme Court.

“Again, absent a final court ruling, I will continue to protect the state’s finances and pay full wages earned by state employees,” Chiang said.

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Schwarzenegger released his revised budget proposal on May 14, 2010. The CA constitution requires that the Legislature pass the budget by June 15. Considering the complexities of a budget for a state the size of California, and the complexities of California’s budget system, Schwarzenegger should have moved faster, as was requested of him, to give more time to the legislature. This slow release was done purposefully in an attempt to ram the budget through without change. Obviously the threat of punishing the state workers is a ploy to add more pressure to quickly pass his budget – to make a temporary change in the payroll system for that many employees would cost money in the long run, not save money. Chiang as controller of CA is very aware of that and realized this is a sleazy and costly political move on Schwarzenegger’s part.

My Spanish is weak, but I think what we’re looking at here is a Chiangadera.

The Trib-uffoon says the Appeals Court sided with Arnold. Sooooo, what now?

I say we suspend all pay for the legislature until they come up with a budget. That should give them the motivation to make a budget. Creating the budget is part of their job duties so if they are not doing their job we should not pay them. They are the ones causeing all the problems.


This idea and two more would slow the hemorrhaging a little. No politician is willing to cut spending or at least cut back on services, so. Get rid of prevailing wage on state or county projects and renegotiate the benefits and pension packages for all state and county employees to be inline with the private sector.

This thinking is backwards – rather than saying state workers should not be allowed to make a wage they can live on, we should be saying the private sector, particularly big business making millions or even billions, should step up and pay a living wage. Just try to live in SLO county on $8.00/ hour – even $16/ hour is month to month survival mode. Wal-Mart is a great example – a corporation profitting in the billions yet refusing to pay a decent wage.

The largest portion of CA’s budget goes to K-12 education. Teachers are required to attend five years of college and many end up with $50 to $100,000 in student loans before they ever get started. Teachers are NOT overpaid.

Mr. Chiang needs to run for governor if he wants to run the state,I would vote for a 5 year old before voting for him.Another democrat living in la-la land.We are beyond broke and need to cut spending,chiangs democrat cohorts need to cut spending and budget with the income we have today, not tomorrows or borrowing more debt.

Robert. I don’t blame Chiang as much as Arnold. Arnold’s idea is illconceived. I mentioned before on this subject that I am in favor of cuts but do it right. Do it by reducing staff not putting people on minimum wage. You don’t see major corporation’s put everyone on minimum wage to cut costs. They cut staff. You can’t ask people to reduce their standard of living to more than four or five times or more their wage and it would also kill moral. I think the five year old in this is Arnold. The shocker for me is I am a conservative defending a democrat but really I am for common sence in the end no matter politics.