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Old 07-24-2008, 06:59 AM   #1
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Default Cali budget Woes

Ouch!

http://apnews.myway.com/article/20080724/D9245OE8A.html
SACRAMENTO (AP) - Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is threatening to pay thousands of state employees the federal minimum wage of $6.55 an hour until lawmakers reach a deal on California's overdue state budget.

Democrats and Republicans have so far been unable to compromise on a solution to the state's $15.2 billion budget deficit for the fiscal year that started July 1. As the stalemate continued, Schwarzenegger has ratcheted up his rhetoric.

Spokesman Aaron McLear said the Republican governor is contemplating signing an executive order next week that would pay about 200,000 state workers the federal minimum wage, which is $1.45 an hour less than California's minimum wage.

Employees would receive their full salary retroactively once a budget is signed.

"Because the Legislature has failed to produce a budget over a month past their deadline and because we don't have a rainy day fund, the governor is looking at a number of options to make sure the state does not run out of cash," McLear said.

A draft of the executive order also said state agencies would be prevented from hiring any nonessential employees and would be forced to terminate about 20,000 contracts with temporary workers, interns and contractors. There also would be a ban on most overtime.

The administration estimates that immediately terminating the contracts and suspending overtime would save the state about $100 million a month. The deferred wages would take several weeks to implement, saving the state as much as $400 million a month starting in late August.

State Controller John Chiang, whose office pays state employees, criticized Schwarzenegger's threat as a political ploy that could end up costing the state even more in litigation fees.

"Forcing public servants to involuntarily loan the state cash by foregoing their hard-earned paychecks puts an untenable burden on our teachers, health care workers and those who provide critical public services," Chiang said in a statement.

"Cutting workers' salaries will do nothing meaningful to improve our cash position or help us make our priority payments."

The Service Employees International Union, which represents nearly half the affected workers, was considering legal action to try to block the move, spokesman Jim Zamora said.

"We're victims of this budget crisis. It's not our fault that the state Legislature and Governor Schwarzenegger can't come together to pass a balanced budget," he said.

The union represents about 95,000 clerical, office and civilian workers throughout the state.

Emergency, disaster and other critical workers would be exempt from the order.

Legislative leaders in both houses have said they are working to meet an Aug. 1 deadline. Without a spending plan in place by then, the state will have to start negotiating on expensive loans to address a cash shortfall that will affect state coffers by the end of September.

Democrats are seeking to raise taxes by $8.2 billion, while Republicans want to balance the budget mostly through cuts. Schwarzenegger said Tuesday that he will not sign a budget if it does not include long-term budget reform, such as a rainy day fund to help ease the state through tough economic times.
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Old 07-24-2008, 07:13 AM   #2
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Brilliant, the state legislature cant get their act together, so let's punish Bob the Janitor by making it even harder on him than it already is.

The article doesn't say how far down or up the totem pole this would be pushed, I can imagine the reaction from teachers in September when they find out they're making minimum wage...oh wait.
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Old 07-24-2008, 07:14 AM   #3
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If Arnold's plan comes to fruition, and my pay gets cut to the federal minimum wage...I'm just going to show movies in my classroom all day instead of teach math.
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Old 07-24-2008, 07:15 AM   #4
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shit on that Mart, 6.55 isn't worth starting your car in the morning. Let the state pay a sub minimum wage.
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Old 07-24-2008, 07:16 AM   #5
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The Governator breaks the news to the state employees...
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Old 07-24-2008, 07:54 AM   #6
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Teachers are state employees in Cali?
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Old 07-24-2008, 08:33 AM   #7
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The districts get their money primarily from the state...but seeing that the districts and the teachers have contracts...it'll never happen.
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Old 07-24-2008, 09:58 AM   #8
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thats the real things unions are supposed to do when the shit hits the fan. cover what the employer fails to cover.
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Old 07-24-2008, 11:16 AM   #9
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It won't be the teachers. It'll be the lunch ladies and janitors, etc...
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Old 07-24-2008, 01:59 PM   #10
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It won't be the teachers. It'll be the lunch ladies and janitors, etc...
That's what I'm thinking. The idea punishes those that can least afford it for the inaction of those that aren't going to be affected. I almost miss Chiteng's ranting when it comes to this type of government action....almost.
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Old 07-24-2008, 04:16 PM   #11
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What good will cutting low level employee wages do to help the actual problem-people to come up with a decision? That's psychotic.

If the state employees had any brains/balls they would storm Arnold's office and either forcefully remove him or set him on fire.
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Old 07-24-2008, 05:24 PM   #12
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I dont see this saving any money whatsoever, matter a fact I see the welfare line getting longer in cali and the action actually COSTING the state money in the long run.
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Old 07-24-2008, 05:48 PM   #13
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This is the kind of bluff that looks great on paper, but you never actually make good on. I hope, anyway. He's a real jackass if he does.
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Old 07-25-2008, 04:45 AM   #14
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it's an election year....... not likely he would do this now. (probably why he is making the threat, he probably needs some sort of budget to show the people in order to get re elected)
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Old 07-25-2008, 06:38 AM   #15
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If he followed through on this he'll have to go back to making action movies.
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Old 07-25-2008, 07:31 AM   #16
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I think he realizes what a shitty situation he'd be putting thousands of state workers in, but he's positioning himself as the bad guy and forcing the people actually responsible into saving people that should've never been in danger in the first place.

I just hope it works out the way he wants it to. Otherwise, he's either gotta follow through and be that guy, or he's gotta back down and lose credibility. Personally, I wouldn't mind him losing credibility, because this move was assinine to begin with.

I guess it's easy to play fast-and-loose with peoples' livelihoods when you've got millions in the bank and aren't going to be effected by the outcome of your decisions.
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Old 07-25-2008, 07:40 AM   #17
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im not sure why he threatened all the people that dont have anything to do with it.

why not just threaten the people responsible? Oh wait i know. cuzz they can afford to not be paid for a month or two and not even blink.
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Old 07-25-2008, 07:57 AM   #18
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Actually, I could see Arnold cornering a legislaturer and saying, in his very thick accent "You don't think I'll do it. You think I'm bluffing. But I will. I'm motherfucking crazy. And then I'll kill you, and your family, and everyone you've ever talked to. Cause I'm motherfucking crazy." And then pulling out a huge-ass knife.

Yeah, folks might complain. But it would make a great YouTube video. And really, that's all politics is any more.
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Old 07-25-2008, 09:28 AM   #19
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Isn't the political reason you threaten to lay waste to tens of thousands of people's lives is to get them to participate in the process by CONTACTING the A**HOLES who should be doing their jobs in the first place?

Illinois is going through the same BS, only it isn't at the level of affecting paychecks ... we have a moron governor who thinks he is better than everyone else, and a Speaker of the House whose only goal in life is to do exactly the opposite of what the governor wants ... so, even though they legally have to have a balanced budget, state congress stent a budget to the governor with a $2 billion deficit, to try and make him be the bad guy ...

I wish all political offices came with an automatic term limit - a lead one traveling at several thousand feet per second right at their empty heads ...
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Old 07-25-2008, 09:38 AM   #20
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Illinois is going through the same BS, only it isn't at the level of affecting paychecks ... we have a moron governor who thinks he is better than everyone else, and a Speaker of the House whose only goal in life is to do exactly the opposite of what the governor wants ... so, even though they legally have to have a balanced budget, state congress stent a budget to the governor with a $2 billion deficit, to try and make him be the bad guy ...
And we had the same problem in our local government. We voted all of them out except one and magically things started to work.
I think its stupid to play politics with peoples paychecks or even with budgets. Cut some, raise some taxes if you need to, it isn't hard to find a compromise. Its just that pols want their cash cows which can get them re-elected. There ought to be a way to keep that from happening.
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Old 07-25-2008, 11:35 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by bumbleroot View Post
Its just that pols want their cash cows which can get them re-elected. There ought to be a way to keep that from happening.
Yes there is. It's called, voting. You just explained how it happened.

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Old 08-03-2008, 09:02 PM   #22
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Bust the legislators' pay down to minimum wage. They might decide to move a bit quicker.

We're going through pretty much the same thing in our school district, on a much smaller scale of course. Here it is over a month past the beginning of the fiscal year and the school board hasn't approved fucking budgets. Kids come back Thursday...
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Old 08-06-2008, 06:33 AM   #23
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The latest development - it's being claimed that the computer system won't support changing the salaries, and there's no one on staff who knows COBOL.

If Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger wants to issue minimum-wage checks to 200,000 state workers in less than a month, he may want to rehire any semi-retired computer programmers he terminated last week.

The massive pay cut would exhaust the state's antiquated payroll system, which is built on a Vietnam-era computer language so outdated that many college students don't even bother to learn it anymore.

Democratic state Controller John Chiang said Monday it would take at least six months to reconfigure the state's payroll system to issue blanket checks at the federal minimum wage of $6.55 per hour, though Schwarzenegger insists such a change should occur this month.

Experts say Chiang isn't joking when he describes the state's payroll system as a computing relic on par with vacuum tubes and floppy disks.
...
But even if the governor's legal reasoning proves to be sound, Chiang said, the state cannot logistically retool its payroll system in a matter of weeks as the governor has asked. And if the change eventually were made, Chiang said it would take an additional nine to 10 months to issue back pay to employees when the budget is approved.

"Pragmatically, we just can't get the system to work in a timely manner for us to implement payment of minimum wage," Chiang said.
...
The state payroll system is based on the COBOL, or Common Business Oriented Language, programming language – a code first introduced in 1959 and popularized in the 1960s and 1970s.

"COBOL programmers are hard to come by these days," said Fred Forrer, the Sacramento-based CEO of MGT of America, a public-sector consulting firm. "It's certainly not a language that is taught. Oftentimes, you have to rely on retired annuitants to come back and help maintain the system until you're able to find a replacement."
...
The state payroll system is based on the COBOL, or Common Business Oriented Language, programming language – a code first introduced in 1959 and popularized in the 1960s and 1970s.

"COBOL programmers are hard to come by these days," said Fred Forrer, the Sacramento-based CEO of MGT of America, a public-sector consulting firm. "It's certainly not a language that is taught. Oftentimes, you have to rely on retired annuitants to come back and help maintain the system until you're able to find a replacement."
Of course, one would wonder why the state government just doesn't switch over to a commercial package like a Fortune 500 company would use, and probably save a bundle of money and get something modern & maintainable. It's not like no one else in the country has software for managing payroll. But, it's the government...
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Old 08-06-2008, 08:59 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by FafnerMorell View Post
Of course, one would wonder why the state government just doesn't switch over to a commercial package like a Fortune 500 company would use, and probably save a bundle of money and get something modern & maintainable. It's not like no one else in the country has software for managing payroll. But, it's the government...
I worked for Dallas county. If the politician in charge of whatever department didn't put a high priority on technology, their department still had 486's. And this was in 2002. Some departments had state of the art systems and some had green-screen terminals. It was all politics, not performance. I'm sure the situation is similar in Cali.

I will say this: Dallas County has made strides in updating their systems in the last 6 years. They're now running SAN clusters and have all but gotten rid of their legacy apps, including Novell.
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Old 08-06-2008, 09:17 AM   #25
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LOL ... I have 50 COBOL programmers sitting within 500 feet of me, and I work at a Fortune 500 company. We converted our IBM ASSEMBLER payroll system to Peoplesoft at a cost of millions, and it works about as good as the old system did, although it does require several updates per year, and lots more hardware, vs. a system that pretty much didn't change at all before it was replaced.

The true joke is that it is probably EASIER to make a legacy mainframe system do what Arnold wants vs. a new-fangled c# of Java based GUI thing, but no one would ever want to admit that old technology works just fine.
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