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A defiant Chiang accuses governor of 'political tricks'

July 1, 2010 |  6:30 pm
In a strongly worded rebuke, state Controller John Chiang said Thursday that he would defy Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s order to slash the pay of state workers until "the courts hand down a final resolution."

Chiang, a Democrat, said the pay cuts will "do nothing to solve the budget deficit" because state employees are entitled to their back pay once a budget is in place. “In the absence of the leadership needed to bring the Legislature to an agreement on his budget, the governor again resorts to political tricks," Chiang said in a statement.

Schwarzenegger sued Chiang to force him to reduce paychecks to the federal minimum wage without a spending plan in place in 2008. Schwarzenegger won in trial court. A state appellate court heard the case last month and has yet to rule.

Whatever the ruling, an appeal to the California Supreme Court is expected -- which would probably push any legal resolution beyond this summer's budget standoff.

“Again, absent a final court ruling, I will continue to protect the state’s finances and pay full wages earned by state employees,” Chiang declared.

-- Shane Goldmacher in Sacramento twitter.com/ShaneGoldmacher