Thursday, July 24, 2008
State Workers Seek Richer Pastures as WalMart Greeters
I had planned to tell you this morning all about the weird dream I had last night. Walking into the building and spying the headline on the Sacramento Bee changed my mind for me.
For everyone disappointed that I'm not sharing my nocturnal visions, I apologize. Those probably weren't really this week's super lotto numbers, anyway.
Every summer we play this game with the budget. It is almost never passed by July 1st, when it is required by law to be passed. Since 1977, the state budget was signed by June 30th only 10 times.
Every time the budget doesn't pass on time, the governor attempts to enact something allegedly to encourage lawmakers to pass a budget. Always it is an attack on the pay of state employees.
In 1992, the state paid roughly 93,000 workers with IOU's, a move later deemed illegal by a federal court judge.
Some years the governor will threaten not to pay state employees until the budget is signed, a move which has always been countered by assurances from the controller that pay will roll out as scheduled, regardless of political posturing.
This year, the governor has said that, until the state budget is signed, state workers will be paid the federal minimum wage, starting with the August pay period.
The federal minimum wage, mind you, which is a full $1.45 an hour less than the California minimum wage.
So we have the power to approve, deny or revoke a professional license, can take you to jail or keep you in prison, help protect Californians from themselves in numerous and varied ways, but we're worth less than an entry-level burger flipper?
Senate Republic leader Dave Codgill and Assembly Republican leader Mike Villines issued a joint statement that said, among other things, "We are working very hard to avoid drastic measures like the one that is being proposed."
Uh, yeah, except that y'all have adjourned until August 4th. What work, exactly, is taking place while y'all are on vacation? Can somebody please clarify this for me?
Here's the bottom line. I have a fixed income. Because of this, I have to live within a budget. I can't spend more than I make, so I don't. Sometimes it's harder than others, and we can't do things we want to do, we have to cut back or we have to juggle. But we don't have a choice about it.
Cutting my salary is not going to pass your budget. It's not my fault you can't figure out how to balance the budget. Give me the damn thing and a red pen and I will fix it for you.
As a matter of fact, select any single parent at random and they will balance that damn thing for you.
It's not hard.
There are things that are important, and there are things that are not so much.
Figure it out.
Get it fixed.
Leave my damn pay warrant alone.