State workers and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger have never gotten along—after beating up on them in successive campaigns (the infamous vow to “kick the butts” of the state nurses union) he went on to demand concessions in collective bargaining agreements and furloughed state employees for several days out of the year. Once again, on the eve of yet another bitter budget battle, the Governor has public employees in his crosshairs, threatening to cut their salaries to minimum wage until the Legislature strikes a budget accord. It is a foregone conclusion that Sacramento will fail to produce a balanced budget by the end of the fiscal year next Wednesday, so in theory over 200,000 state workers will see their paychecks dramatically reduced. In the background of all of this are tense negotiations over new agreements with the unions and several court cases about how far the governor can go in punishing public employees. Is it fair to blame California’s budget mess on state workers?
Aaron McClear, press secretary for Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
Dave Low, Director of Governmental Relations for the California School Employees Association
John Chiang, California State Controller