As California Democrats and Republicans struggle to find a satisfactory compromise and seal the deal on a new and overdue state budget, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's frustration has risen to the point of making threats. He's considering an executive order that would reduce 200,000 state employees' salaries to the $6.55 per hour federal minimum wage, which CitizenSugar points out is $1.45 less than the state's minimum wage.
A good friend of mine happens to be a hard-working California state employee, so I asked him for his thoughts on the governor's threat and how it would affect him should the order go through this week.
SavvySugar: How would something like this affect the public sector?
State Employee: I think it is a fair assumption that state employees do not jump into the public sector expecting some great financial windfall as a result. No, most people are doing it for a sense of security. Every month you are going to get your paycheck and you are going to get it on the first or the 30th and that's it. Likewise, you are going to have not just financial security, but job security. In general terms a concept such as the one which Arnold is proposing would overthrow one big benefit of being a public sector employee.
See his thoughts on the concept of Arnold's threat and how he'd personally be affected when you
SS: What's your opinion on the concept in general?
SE: The fact of the matter is these are hard financial times for many people and by cutting people's salaries, in some cases up to 90 percent, you are putting their livelihood in dire straits and for what purpose? Stymieing the ability for 200,000 state employees to subsist on their own financially seems like a very backward way to help quell the budget crisis.
SS: How would you be affected? Does the fact that your salary would be paid retroactively make it no big deal?
SE: For me personally, I have enough savings that I could stand a few months without making my regular hourly pay, but it would be tight. I actually figured out what my pretax paycheck would be under the governor's proposal of lowering the salary to $6.55 an hour, and it comes out to $1135 a month. My paycheck after taxes would pay rent and that's it. No food, no water bill, no electric bill, nothing, just rent.