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Schwarzenegger proposes 5% cut in state worker salaries [Updated]

May 28, 2009 |  4:31 pm

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed a 5% cut in 200,000 state workers’ salaries.

Combined with existing mandatory furloughs, that would mean about a 15% pay cut for those workers. The proposal would affect appointees and civil servants in agencies run by the governor but not employees of other elected officials, such as the attorney general or controller.

“Everyone in the state is cutting back right now — businesses, families,” said Matt David, spokesman for Schwarzenegger. “The governor feels it’s very important that state workers do the same thing.”

The proposal, to be announced Friday, would save the state $470 million, David said, and is part of the governor's plan to close a projected $24-billion budget gap.

[Updated at 4:30 p.m.: Schwarzenegger last year forced state workers to take off two days a month without pay, amounting to about a 10% salary reduction.

The new decrease, which would have to be approved by lawmakers during budget negotiations, would not come with any time off. It would take effect with the new budget in July. The governor in recent weeks has proposed closing $21 billion of the budget gap mostly through drastic cuts to a variety of state programs that provide healthcare, welfare, education and law enforcement, and he also wants to borrow $2 billion from local governments.

Besides the wage cuts, his new proposal will include additional reductions to funding for education, health and human services, sources said.]

[Updated 4:55 p.m.: The cuts would not affect employees of the Legislature or the state court system, officials said. They had earlier said the cuts would not affect employees of other elected officials.]

-- Michael Rothfeld