Democratic and Republican leaders and the Governor are negotiating a fix to the state’s 40 billion dollar shortfall. And it will almost certainly include deeper cuts and some sort of tax increase. Democratic Assembly Speaker Karen Bass says the legislature should feel the pinch too:
“share the pain”
Bass says a ten percent cut to the Assembly will free up about 15 million dollars that will go to other programs – such as fire protection.
“What that means in some instances is vacancies; people will not be rehired, and we won’t do expansions, etc. But we’re going through the fine details of that now, too, but our commitment is a ten percent reduction in our own expenses.”
Democratic Senate Leader Darrel Steinberg says he’s considering a voluntary furlough plan to cut costs. Last month, Governor Schwarzenegger ordered state employees to take two unpaid days off each month – starting in February. However the order does not apply to the legislature. Most statewide elected officials such as the Treasurer and the Lieutenant Governor have opted not to take part in the furlough program. They say they will implement other cost-cutting measures. Unions representing state workers have challenged the Governor’s move in court.