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Furloughs To Begin For State Employees In February

Two days without pay could save a significant amount of money, something California needs right now.

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A Sacramento Superior Court Judge affirmed Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s right to order state employees to take two unpaid furlough days a month in light of the state’s current budget crisis.

Beginning in February, state workers, such as clerical staff at the CHP and workers at the Department of Motor Vehicles, will have two days off without their salary. An announcement on the DMV website states that all DMV offices will close the first and third Fridays of each month, starting in February.

“To me, labor has the choice—and I made this very clear—that they can help us in making the decision on how we save the $1.4 billion,” the Governor told the Sacramento Press Club on Wednesday. “So our recommendation was furloughs, where everyone takes a little haircut rather than laying people off. That’s the last thing I want to do, is lay people off. So it’s their decision now.”

The order was challenged by the Professional Engineers in California Government and the California Association of Professional Scientists, two unions representing state scientists and engineers, but those were overturned.

The state is already working on issuing IOUs to taxpayers who are due income tax returns and on Monday,

California
had to borrow funds from the federal government to pay unemployment.

“The Governor believes we must do everything we can to cut back government spending, including state payroll. The Governor’s furloughs will save over a billion dollars and avoid laying off thousands of state workers during these challenging economic times,” said Matt David, who serves as the Governor’s communications director.

“State employees throughout California are hardworking public servants who play a vital role in providing government services to Californians, but as businesses and families across the state are cutting back to make ends meet - so must government,” he concluded.