California state employees furloughs to begin Friday

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AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes

People find the Department of Motor Vehicles office closed for a mandatory state furlough day in East Los Angeles Friday, July 10, 2009. Most California state government offices are closed Friday, the first of three monthly furlough days intended to save the state money.

Furloughs for state workers will start Friday. The state Supreme Court has granted Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's request to review a lower court's ruling that kept the governor from furloughing roughly 144,000 employees last week as he had planned.

The Schwarzenegger Administration had asked the state's highest court to stay a lower court ruling that temporarily blocks unpaid days off for state employees. He's argued that preventing the furloughs could cause irreparable harm to a state budget that’s still $19 billion in the red.

The high court's decision also stays the Alameda County Superior Court's temporary restraining order barring the furloughs.

Last year Schwarzenegger furloughed those workers three days a month and saved over $1 billion.

The governor’s press secretary Aaron McLear, says that if the California Supreme Court doesn't respond by Friday, the administration will find another way to cut state employee costs.

"We have budgeted for a savings of $1.4 billion in savings in this budget." Mclear said. "That will come from state workers one way or another."

McLear says that to generate those savings the governor may order more furloughs in the remaining months of the fiscal year.

The governor had said if the court blocks the furloughs he'll begin to lay off state employees as early as next month.

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