Commentary: Instead of more furloughs, how about a budget?

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's bullying tactics are tiresome, mean-spirited and destructive.

The governor's press aides — the governor was busy in Simi Valley — announced new furloughs on Wednesday, once again using state workers as pawns by requiring that roughly 156,000 of them take three unpaid days off per month and slicing their pay accordingly.

Unable to persuade the courts to slash state workers pay to the minimum wage, the governor has resorted to furloughs in an attempt to force Democratic legislators into agreeing to his budget vision, such as it is.

We would view the furlough gambit as nothing more than a bargaining tactic, except that so little bargaining is taking place.

Look at what happened on Wednesday.

As the governor's press aides announced the new furloughs, Schwarzenegger was at the Ronald Reagan library in Simi Valley conducting a mock signing of legislation to create a Ronald Reagan Day in California. Because he already had signed the bill, this act was theater, like so much of his administration.

Making it worse, Assembly Republican leader Martin Garrick of Solana Beach attended the phony bill signing, as did Senate Republican leader Dennis Hollingsworth.

We understand that budgets are complicated. But all three of them should have been working on the budget. Schwarzenegger needs to gird himself and focus on the budget rather than showmanship. He will be able to focus on theatrics soon enough.

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