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State offices closed today amid new round of worker furloughs


A new round of California worker furloughs takes effect today, causing most state offices to be closed.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency earlier this month due to the state budget impasse, ordering three furlough days each month.

“Though the legislature failed to solve our budget problem yesterday, rest assured that solving the entire deficit remains my first and only priority, and I will not rest until we get it done. I will not be a part of pushing this crisis down the road -- the road stops here,”  Schwarzenegger said in a statement when issuing the order.

The furloughs are designed to reduce spending on state employee salaries. The office closures are expected to save more than $1 billion over the next year. The state has a $26-billion budget imbalance.

-- Shelby Grad

Photo: Private security guard Larry Cash informs Lorenza Valdez that the Department of Motor Vehicle office located at 3615 S. Hope Street in Los Angeles is closed this today. (Al  Seib  / Los Angeles Times)
Comments () | Archives (36)

How about we fire one state legislator in each house for each furlough day - starting with the most junior (only because they have no power anyway)? There is absolutely no excuse for this budget not to be done. It's shameful.

Gov. ARNOLD Schwarzenegger's LAST STAND?

Bravo for Arnold! Last year's court challenges to Arnold's executive orders to reduce chronic state overspending through unpaid days off and state office closures have been defeated. As a soon to be former politican, Arnold has nothing to loose what so ever by holding his line and being seen as "intransigent".

If I were him, I would do exactly the same thing under the circumstances, no matter what anybody else though. (They don't count anyway). Arnold can afford to wait the other side out till his term of office ends, or they make some concessions and show a willingness to "play ball".

As in our national elections next year, the voters once again have a choice, and the voters ultimately have the final say and the responsibility for the outcome-good or bad. So far, they have said "NO" to higher Calif. State Taxes. President Obama should be paying attention here.

First, should include an equal one day suspension of retiree pensions.
Second, I wonder how much the state losses in tax revenues from furloughed employees?
Third, "...the road stops here" ???? Is there still a writers strike Ah-nold?

This furlough is a shameless attempt to scapegoat the people for the problems created by corrupt politicians.

We are paying the public employees too much for the work that is being done. When you factor in the pensions, the imbalance between what is produced and what the taxpayer is paying for is way way out of whack. There is no reason why the public employees can't be subject to the same lay-offs as the rest of the public.

In these hard times, everyone, including highly paid state workers should give their share and take these furlough along with any other prescription remedy needed to bring the bloating budget back to reality.

The impact of the furlough on trying to start a new business is that our application for incorporation has been held up. The sooner they get this done, the sooner we can go into business and begin paying state taxes.

Wow, there's plenty money for the anchor babies, but not enough for the workers.
Ahnuld, you got your priorities messed up.

I agree with the Governor. I once work with a Caltrans job for Utility Investigation (finding the pipes under the road). Imagine I have a crew of 3 laborers and there are 3 Caltrans Engineers supervising us. Also my wife is a nurse and used to work in the DD Homecare. She noticed the abuse of our Social Services money. It's time to check these mismanagement of taxpayers money. More power to you Governor

reply to MikeN, "tax revenues from furloughed employees", have you ever looked at/or known how much state employees pay state tax?

In the old days the problem was to bring public employee earnings up to the levels of the private sector. Now it seems to be the other way 'round.

I too am glad the Governor is taking such a hard stand on this. Everybody is keen to pat everyone else on the back, take home a fat paycheck and allow the citizens to suffer. For once we have a man who appears to be working for the people. Working to end the corruption that has plagued California's State Government for far too long. While I do think it is unfair that state employees are caught in the crossfire it is a necessary evil that will hopefully lead to changes for the greater good of the citizens of this state. His approval ratings may be in the toilet but people just don't realize that politicians only care about themselves, not the people they "represent".

3 furlough days per month amounts to a 15% cut for workers (assuming a 20-day work month). The inept legislators grudgingly agreed (most of them, anyway) to a 5% cut.

Where is the equity?

I wonder if Arnold is making sure that he and all the other higher ups are also taking a deduction in pay and not just leaving it for the little ones.

Why are we punishing the state workers for the ills of our legislature? The state workers didn't create these problems.....they are being used as the scapegoat!

The ignorance displayed in the comments here are indicative of how CA got into this mess in the first place - grossly inaccurate ideas about state workers, who are on average lower paid for the same educational background as private sector workers and who could all be dismissed tomorrow without solving this crisis one whit, idiotic comments about "anchor babies" (they're called United States Citizens, folks, and unless your family is 100% native american, you're one too), and a bizarre belief that legislators - who are straitjacketed by voter-approved initiatives, and couldn't fix this even if they wanted to - are the entire problem. Californians have voted this on themselves, with right-wing Californians gaming the system for 30 years to block every attempt at making the system better. Schwarzenegger is the governor commenters like you deserve - intellectually light, fond of grand pronuncements, completely dim to human suffering. This is a man who hung with Enron before his election and made foster kids and the blind his very first budgetary targets. You want someone to blame in this, blame the commenters at the LA times and the obstructionist portion of the California population they represent - spoiled, vindictive, myopic, and bad at math.

Well, let's try to blame the "overpaid" state employees for the mess me are in. You must be talking about the ones who work in our hospitals, schools, and keep are communities safe. Less than a year ago, Arnold pointed out that CA needs more teachers and nurses, which is not true. There are plenty here; they have just changed careers to more lucrative and less stressful positions. When polled as to why they quit, the majority said that the lack of pay and respect were the two main reasons.

Don't even start on the police and firefighters who go to bed with visions and anxiety the rest of us can't imagine. Would you be willing to scrape up a child's remains into a bag for a living so that your neighbors can go to a funeral or get shot at and threatened on a daily bases as a career? It might be interesting for a year or two for some, but after a while even the tough guys get worn down.

Prison guards get feces thrown at them and risk being stabbed with make-shift knives on a daily basis. I'm still trying to figure out who shouldn't have job benefits and enough pay to afford a small house in a decent neighborhood. We are talking at least $8,000 per month to afford such a lifestyle for a family of four in most of CA.

Over course there is fat that needs to be trimmed. Top heavy school districts, upper management paper pushers making $250,000, etc. However, we need to be a little more precise and put the blame where it belongs instead of using "state employees" as a catch phrase. The vast majority are not the problem and shouldn't be made into scapegoats.

Why in the sacred world Californians....and americans in general are so resistant to raising taxes for the rich is beyond comprehension.....they prefer all to suffer (except the rich) for the possibility of getting on the other side of the fence.....this is not capitalism, it's stupidity!

I have mixed feelings about what the State is doing to save money. First of all, it's a shame that it has come down to this due to the fact that we've had the WORST Governer (yes, Schwarzenegger) in Californai History.
On the other hand, MOST State workers (Cal Trans especially) are a bunch of OVER PAID, useless individuals who basically get paid for doing NOTHING. How many times have you seeing 15 Cal Trans workers at a job site, but only one is working while the rest are chatting away? Lets be real here, all that tax money could be going to something meaningful, LIKE EDUCATION, so we don't have more kids growing up to be under educated.

Part of the reason the State is in the hole that it is, is because of the over-paid, over-pensioned, UNDER WORKED State employees on every level.
Since when does it take 20 Cal Trans workers to change a broken sprinkler head? Talk about wasting money! Even though Schwarzenegger has pretty much been a USELESS Governer, the fact that our State over compensates State workers doesn't help!!

If we were not such an apathetic bunch of folks -- we Americans -- we would already be pouring into the streets like they are in Iran. Our government has totally sold us out. They only serve their own interests and the interests of corporations, the Wall Street gangsters, the military industrial complex. Now, they ask We The People to endure all of the hardships, misery and pain for their lack of leadership, wasteful spending and corruption. Even now, they just "don't get it." I just read that BofA and CitiBank will not be honoring the state's IOUs. If you have money in these banks, I say pull it out and stick it under your mattress. Put these crooks out of business. They just received billions from us -- the taxpayers -- to save them from their own mismangement and greed, but they continue to bite the hand that feeds them; treat the American people like crap. They should be kissing our feet, but instead it's just business as usual for those that are "too big to fail." I say LET THEM FAIL. The state should be forcing these financial institutions to accept the IOUs, not begging them to accept the IOUs on bended knee. If BofA and Citi do not want to be part of the solution in California, they can close shop and go do business elsewhere.

Some gov't services shut down for the day---I don't think the world ended. People will get used to it. Soon, it won't be a big deal if gov't offices are closed every other Friday. People are in the habit of looking to gov't for everything but they can break that habit. It's really ok--the world really won't end if there's no DMV three Fridays a month. We can survive! People are acting like gov't employees have a right to their jobs. No one has a right to a job. A job is a privilege that is gained and kept through hard work--unfortunately, sometimes economic problems can override even hard work.

When do we get to cut welfare benefits to illegal aliens and their wefare prodigy?

Go Governor!!!

Kick every socialist parasite right out of California and out of The United States of America!

State offices were closed today? Gee, I didn't notice, and neither did anyone else. Can we start closing them every Friday, and then every Thursday and Friday, and then close them altogether?

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