California Starts Fiscal Year With No Budget


California is, once again, operating without an official budget, and Gov. Schwarzenegger wants to cut state employees' pay to minimum wage because of it.

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Although State Controller John Chiang wants to defy the Gov.'s order, a state appeals court today says it's his call to make. Details from the L.A. Times:

The ruling comes a day after the governor ordered the pay of nearly 200,000 state employees to be reduced to $7.25 an hour until a budget is passed....

The ruling by the 3rd District Court of Appeals centers on a 2008 case, when during a similar budget impasse Schwarzenegger ordered state workers' be paid the federal minimum wage.

The court ruled Friday that the governor's administration "the authority to direct the Controller to defer salary payments... due to a budget impasse."

Chiang said on Thursday that he would defy Schwarzenegger's minimum wage order.

The Sacramento Bee explains that the legislature has adjourned leaving the state once again budgetless and with a $19 billion plus deficit:

Tony Quinn, a former Capitol aide who is now co-editor of the California Target Book that handicaps statewide political races, said voters would be more upset if legislators remained in Sacramento during the budget impasse, collecting $142 a day for living expenses during a lull in other business.

Assemblyman Tony Mendoza, D-Artesia, said the Legislature's image would take a hit whether recess is canceled or not.

"If we stay here, we get per diem - and that doesn't look good," Mendoza said.

Meanwhile, California politicians avoided any new pay cuts this year,

What does it mean to the state to not have a budget? State Controller Chiang's website has an informative chart of what the state can still legally be paying for minus a legal budget.

Image taken by Flickr user Tim Pearce, Los Gatos. Used under user Creative Commons license.

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