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News Link • Government Debt & Financing

Schwarzenegger orders government worker furloughs

• Judy Lin via Associated Press
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Wednesday brought back furloughs for thousands of state workers until California passes a budget that addresses a $19 billion deficit.

Schwarzenegger released a new executive order requiring state workers to take three unpaid days off per month starting in August. State workers were furloughed a total of 46 days when Schwarzenegger issued a similar order in February 2009, which translated to a pay cut of about 14 percent.

Those furloughs just ended in June.

It's unclear how long the latest round of furloughs could last, as Schwarzenegger and lawmakers enter the fifth week of the new fiscal year without a balanced budget. Earlier this week, the governor hinted that he might not sign a budget before he leaves office next January unless it includes pension, tax and spending reforms.

"Without a budget in place that addresses our $19 billion budget deficit, every day of delay brings California closer to a fiscal meltdown," Schwarzenegger said in a statement. "Our cash situation leaves me no choice but to once again furlough state workers until the Legislature produces a budget I can sign."

State Controller John Chiang has warned he will start issuing IOUs in August or September if the budget stalemate drags on in the Legislature. Chiang said the cash-saving measure is necessary because the state is projected to run out of cash in October.

The new order exempts employees who work for departments that collect revenue, such as the Franchise Tax Board, and public safety agencies, including the California Highway Patrol.

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