Our phone and e-mail is flooded today with reaction to the story in today's Bee about Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's proposal to furlough state workers and cut their beneifts, The comments range from disbelief to anger to a sense of comeuppance for state workers, who many people feel enjoy unjustified job protections and guaranteed pensions, particularly in these difficult economic times.
One caller felt that the story was unfair because it failed to note that the $1.4 billion savings estimate was over two years. "Stop dumping on state workers!" he shouted.
"I will gladly accept a 5% pay cut for one year, but only if every other working person in California agrees to do the same!!" state worker Jim Porter said in an e-mail.
Amelia Smith of Fair Oaks wrote:
State workers need to be firing off e-mails and letters to the Legislature saying, "Hell, yes" to the proposal of giving up one day's pay a month. As a retired state worker, the benefits received (by state workers) far outweigh giving up one day's pay a month. As a temporary help worker, I received my walking papers via the Executive Order on July 1. I would have been glad to give up one day's pay to keep my job.
You can click here to read Bee colleague Kevin Yamamura's story today about the budget crisis. And click here to read Schwarzenegger's "Dear State Worker" letter, announcing the proposed cuts to state worker hours and benefits.
Air Force retiree Bob Cushman says: "Dire times call for drastic measures and that means some sacrifices. Unfortunately, people are generally very selfish and in my humble opinion that is the case with State Employees ... Many public servants have forgotten who really pays their wages, it isn't the State...it is the taxpayer ... So I have no sympathy for those who are upset about what amounts to a measly 5% cut in pay. Don't even get me started on the number of paid holidays they get. I commend Gov. Schwarzenegger's plan and the realization there are not better options."