Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is prepared to cut another 2,000 jobs from the general fund, state officials told state employee union and exempt employee association leaders in a conference call this morning. The cuts could be part of a deal that must close the state's $26.3 billion fiscal gap, which widens by $25 million each day lawmakers fail to enact a budget.
"The budget reforms and program savings being discussed in the budget require us to be prepared to implement in order to realize those savings," said Lynelle Jolley, spokeswoman for the Department of Personnel Administration.
DPA informed the employee groups of the possible layoff order this morning during a 9 a.m. conference call, Jolley said. Departments have until July 20 to report their how many vacant positions they'll permanantly eliminate toward reduction targets that the administration will set. Officials will then decide how many filled positions need to be cut.
This would be the third round of layoff warning notices issued by the administration, each time with the intent of eliminating jobs in the state's strapped general fund. In February, Schwarzenegger ordered 28,000 sent out to the least senior 10 percent of the state's employees. He ordered another 5,000 notices sent out in May.
It's not clear that any government workers have lost their jobs, however, because the state allows employees given a layoff warning to seek jobs elsewhere in the bureaucracy. About 6,500 of the 28,000 state workers who were given a warning in February moved into non-general fund jobs, according to the administration. It doesn't have similar figures for impact of the May layoff warnings, nor projections for the 2,000 warnings that might be issued.
Approximately 100,000 state workers are employed in general fund departments, the vast majority of them in the state's prison and parole department and in public health. Employee compensation makes up about 10 percent of the $85.8 billion general fund, an amount equal to roughly one-third of the current budget deficit.