Olin King, president of the Association of California State Supervisors spoke to The State Worker for Monday's layoff story. We've been so busy this week that we're just getting around to posting more of his comments:
On Schwarzenegger's Dec. 1 comment that the budget crisis has "almost forced" the state into laying off workers: It's premature to use a drastic solution like that before the Legislature explores all the viable options.
How staffing correlates to state revenue: Many revenue-gathering agencies have been understaffed for some time. If the Board of Equalization, for example, employed enough auditors, the state would get more revenue.
On the impact of layoffs: If the governor did that, he would be adding to the plight of the state, because of what it would do to state workers' disposable income, especially in Sacramento. There would be fewer people able to support business in the local area.
On whether Schwarzenegger's layoff talk is merely a negotiating tactic: It's possible that the governor is posturing, But he might be quite serious about it. Either way, it's not a prudent way to deal with a crisis that affects all Californians, not just state workers.
How layoffs would punish state workers twice: If we're singled out, that means we'll be carrying an extra burden. If governor decides to increase sales taxes, for example, employees who lose their jobs not only sacrifice once (by bearing the higher tax burden), they sacrifice twice (by losing their jobs).
On what ACSS members are saying: Our members are concerned that the governor is not being fair with them. They're battered and bruised from the souring economy. They're dealing with the mortgage meltdown. They're confronted with the same increases in cost of living as everyone else.
The governor should remember that. He shouldn't do something just because he has the power to do it. He has a higher level of objectivity that he has to exercise. It would be well worth the effort to work with legislators rather then using these kinds of draconian measures to deal with the situation.
IMAGE: Olin King / www.acssonline.org