Controller refuses to cut state workers’ pay
July 1, 2010
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.