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Schwarzenegger's Wage Threat: A State Employee's Reaction

Schwarzenegger's Wage Threat: A State Employee's Reaction

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.


Join The Conversation
jennjennnbubba jennjennnbubba 9 years
That is sad that you could only pay your rent with one job! I am currently looking for a new job and let me tell you, there is no way I could make it on that. I have to make at least $10/hr just to make ends meat. Even accepting $10/hr will put me in a serious crunch! I was thinking that even if I found a job make that an hour that I would still need some sort of part time job just to make it by with gas prices and have money to live off of.
sweetpeabrina sweetpeabrina 9 years
I agree with SD Transplant. While slashing salaries, go ahead and cut some taxes while they're at it. Get Hollywood to pay the state income taxes (like in Florida) to ease some of the expenses of living there.
bethie85 bethie85 9 years
I am not a fan of Arnold or his new threat to sacrifice 200,000 of his own constituency to pass a budget they have no control over. I can't imagine that this will actually be put into practice, or if it did that it wouldn't end up costing the state much more in the long run. Arnold= not-so-bright bully in my book. This state employee Savvy speaks of, however, sounds like a pretty bright guy.
thelorax thelorax 9 years
I'm not too worried - I doubt that it will really happen - and this is coming from a girl who is supposedly now making $6.55 per hour. Normally, Executive Orders just happen. This one started as a rumor last Thursday night, Friday morning a draft was released, and by Friday at noon the unions were marching all over the capital. I say Ahnold is posturing - what quicker way to get 200,000 people riled up enough to put pressure on the Legislature than to take away their paychecks? Plus, State Controller John Chiang said right away that he would not comply with the EO, and the Legislative Analyst's Office agreed that the Gov doesn't really have that authority...although the ruling in White v. Davis in...1998? says he does. **shrug** At least if he really signs the damn thing, the Leg has a month to figure out a budget before our paychecks are due at the end of August. That being said, given how tightly most people's budgets are stretched right now, drastically reducing 200,000+ paychecks seems like a very bad idea.
stargazer25 stargazer25 9 years
I second what SDtransplant says. Cut the wages of the legislators etc first!
raieven raieven 9 years
I HATE Arnold!
hithatsmybike hithatsmybike 9 years
cutting wages when the USA is heading for a depression that will rival that of the dirty 30's is not going to win him any favors. $6.55/hr is a joke. I don't know anyone that would say yes to such a shitty wage unless they're an illegal mexican or something -- which, in California, is probably the case.
MsWalton MsWalton 9 years
As a state employee, I totally feel his pain. In VA, our governor isn't talking about cutting wages. We're suffering from "budget pains" and agencies are cutting back on everything. If things get really bad, layoffs (shock) may occur. It's already happened once this year. But, those are the problems that occur when you work for the state. It sucks.
Leilanic1 Leilanic1 9 years
that's crazy. why would arnold do that? is a definitely a way for him to be voted out of office.
bellaressa bellaressa 9 years
Ohh wow. I hope they really rectify this before the deadline. I already know families that make min wage and support their families and they are not considered in poverty but just above.
SDTransplant SDTransplant 9 years
It still riles me that Arnold is the governor of Cali, but that's a moot point. Instead of penalizing the employees who are likely at the bottom of the totem pole, how about cutting the pay of the state legislators, senators, and representatives a bit to compensate for the deficit, especially people who make over six figures? Now that would be interesting.
carhornsinapril carhornsinapril 9 years
we're in a sad state when starbuck's pays nearly twice the hourly wage that state of california does.
GeriAnne1932 GeriAnne1932 9 years
I'm not sure about this, but if someone makes $6.55 and is supporting a family of 4, does that not put them at the poverty level? Why would he do that to people who, quite frankly, may not be able to find another job in this economy or don't have the means to do so? I don't know the whole story because I'm not from California, but perhaps the legislation could remove just a few "frills" from their own life instead of doing this to the hard workers who keep the state running.
imLissy imLissy 9 years
$6.55 an hour? Oy, I wouldn't even be able to pay my rent. How can people live off of that?
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