State Controller John Chiang said in a television interview today that he will do "anything a court asks me to do if I physically can" to comply with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's order to reduce pay for roughly 200.000 state workers to minimum wage because of the budget impasse.
"I am not defying the governor... I'm saying we cannot do it physically," he told Fox Business Network host Stuart Varney.
Chiang likened using the state's negative payroll system to issue minimum-wage checks to trying to ride a bicycle designed to pedal forward backwards.
"If we had a new system that could do it we would do it," he said. "The governor and Legislature need to pass a law that allows us to do so. ... The law tells me which system I have to operate."
Chiang again warned that while the state has enough money now to pay workers in full, cash will dry up by October without a budget in place.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post referred incorrectly to Fox Business Network as Fox Business News.