Politics & Government

States cut pay, furlough workers in effort to battle budget deficits

In Rhode Island, they're delaying pay raises. In Nevada, state college teachers took a 4.6 percent pay cut. New Jersey state workers are taking 10 furlough days this year — although they'll get back seven days of paid leave later.

Across the country, state government leaders are cutting employee compensation and eliminating jobs to spackle over parts of their respective budget holes.

Now, with the 2010 elections revving up, political candidates and lawmakers in the Golden State and elsewhere are talking more and more about thinning the number of state workers or cutting their pay and pensions. A big reason: It's easier to talk about axing a subset of faceless workers than to talk in detail about service cuts.

"Look, government workers are a logical target because the government is so big, it's hard to wrap your mind around it," said political pollster Steve Kinney, a partner with Redondo Beach-based Public Opinion Strategies. "And in the eyes of people in the private sector – both union and nonunion, Republicans and conservative Democrats – government isn't valuable."Read this story on sacbee.com