California Budget Crisis

December 22, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
A dire warning from the California State Controller, who said California is just a little over two months away from running out of money.The Service Employees Union - Local 1000 - filed a complaint with the Public Employment Relations Board accusing Governor Schwarzenegger of unfair labor practices when he ordered the furloughs Friday.

The largest state employee union has been trying to negotiate a new contract with the Governor since summer. They said he had no intention of listening to their demands.

The state engineers union took a different tactic by going to court. Their lawsuit contends the Governor has no authority to force state workers to take 2 days a month of unpaid leave. The move essentially amounts to a 10-percent pay cut.

It is Day 47 of the budget impasse with the deficit now topping more than $7-billion dollars to date. The chambers in Sacramento remain empty; a sure sign a budget solution isn't close.

While criticizing lawmakers for the gridlock, the Governor said he didn't want to order state worker furloughs, but absent a budget compromise he has to keep expenses down.

In another ominous sign of the state's dire financial situation, State Controller John Chiang sent a letter to leaders saying California will run out of money in less than 70 days. In fact, Chiang told them, "We are literally weeks away from a meltdown of State Government".

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