Sunday, August 3, 2008

Schwarzenegger signs order to cut Californian workers' pay

Schwarzenegger signs order to cut Californian workers' pay

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California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on Thursday signed an executive order temporarily slashing the pay of most full-time employees to the federal minimum wage of 6.55 dollars an hour.

He also ordered his administration to lay off thousands of part-time state workers as part of efforts to deal with a budget crisis. About 10,300 part-time employees will be affected starting on Thursday, the governor's aides said.

Schwarzenegger administration officials said the move will help give the state enough cash to get by until a state budget is signed. The budget was due July 1 but is still being negotiated by the governor and legislative leaders.

If the governor is successful in cutting the employees' income, they will receive their full back pay once a budget were signed.

"It is a terrible situation to be in," Schwarzenegger said after signing an executive order. "I don't think any governor wants to be in this situation."

But State Controller John Chiang said he would not comply with the order because "it is based on faulty legal and factual premises."

The governor said he will take the controller to court if necessary, but he hopes to resolve the state budget impasse with lawmakers within days, making such a battle unnecessary.

Schwarzenegger said a 2003 State Supreme Court decision requires the pay cuts for most of the 200,000 full-time state employees in the absence of a budget.

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