Schwarzenegger reinstitutes 'Furlough Fridays'

In this photo taken Tuesday, April, 27, 2010, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is seen at news conference in Sacramento, Calif.(Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
July 29, 2010 10:27:49 AM PDT
State employees will have to go back to enduring days off without pay. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger says when law makers pass a budget, state workers can get back to work full time.

They found out by e-mail that the latest furloughs will take effect August 1 with three unpaid days off per month. Those days will be the second, third and fourth Friday of every month, so technically, the first real furlough will be August 13.

State employees were furlough-free for only one month. Just when their pay check began looking healthy again, the governor decided it's time to conserve cash.

The state faces a $19 billion budget deficit.

"Because the state is facing a cash crisis and because the Legislature has failed to produce a budget, we are going to run out of cash and not be able to pay the bills," Schwarzenegger's spokesperson Aaron McLear said.

State employees in Oakland could not contain their frustration with Schwarzenegger

"Get another job, you worked well at making movies. Balancing and running the state of California has never been your job," state employee Angel Wiley said.

"Now I have to find a way to make up that income that was taken away from me," state employee Jeremiah Robinson said.

The last furlough period added up to a 15 percent pay cut. It lasted for a year a half and took a toll on many employees.

"Right not I'm in a financially difficult situation. Trying to make ends meet, because of the 15 percent pay cut for a year and a half," state employee Diosa Tolentino said.

"As soon as we get a budget, the furloughs go away," McLear said.

An estimated 200,000 state workers will be affected. Those employees who work for departments that collect revenue are exempt.

But the Department of Motor Vehicles, the DMV, is not one of them. They too will have to close.

"It's hard enough to get into the DMV. If you try to go online or try to make an appointment you have to wait two weeks already for an appointment already. Further closures will make it harder on us, the poor people who pay the bill," Berkeley resident Lynn Sims said.

Like the previous furlough policy, law enforcement agencies will not be affected.

Those businesses that depend on state employees will again feel the pinch. Charlie Lee owns a sandwich shop in Oakland.

"It's like a ghost town around here on Fridays. We end up closing up early, half days on Fridays," he said.

There is talk in Oakland and Sacramento that there won't be a budget in place until November because it is an election year and people who are running for office don't really want to be associated with the budget cuts.

State employees want this resolved now.


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