Schwarzenegger to seek pay cuts for state workers

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will ask for a 5 percent across-the-board pay cut for state workers to save $470 million in next year's general fund budget and to preserve cash, a spokesman said Thursday.

The cut will be included in an additional $3 billion worth of reductions the administration will propose to the Legislature today, according to Schwarzenegger press secretary Aaron McLear.

The administration said the latest round of cuts is necessary because the economy has deteriorated since the governor first proposed ways to close a $21.3 billion gap between state revenues and spending earlier this month.

The pay cuts would affect 235,000 workers under the Republican governor's control. The state's judicial and legislative branches would be exempt because they are autonomous, but McLear said employees who work for constitutional officers would receive a pay cut.

"Voters gave the leaders of this state a mandate to cut government spending, and that's exactly what we're doing," McLear said, referring to voters' rejection last week of three ballot measures that would have raised $6 billion in cash.

The pay cuts would come on top of the governor's proposal to maintain two-day-a-month furloughs and lay off 5,000 state workers. Under the latest plan, workers would receive no time off in exchange for the 5 percent salary reduction.

Between the furloughs and pay cut proposal, affected workers would receive 14.2 percent less pay than a year ago.

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