Assembly Republican Leader Martin Garrick said this afternoon that recent agreements between six unions and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger are 'headed in the right direction," but he stopped short of saying the Republicans were already on board with the deals.
We talked briefly with Garrick this afternoon, not long after the Assembly Republican Caucus took aim at California's bureaucracy in a press release titled, "It Takes 25 California Private Sector Jobs to Support One State Employee Job."
The release, citing various state government sources for it's statistics, juxtaposes California state and private jobs numbers. Example: California has lost nearly 1.3 million jobs since 2005; state government has added 38,100 jobs during the same period.
Aside from the usual debate that arises whenever you look at these kinds of numbers, we wondered: What does this say about where Garrick and the Assembly GOP stands on the six tentative agreements?
We spoke to Garrick just a few minutes ago and asked him that question.
"I personally haven't reviewed the details" of the tentative agreements, Garrick said. "I think they're headed in the right direction."
He talked about some of the numbers in the press release that indicate while California's economy has been shrinking that its state government has grown. Garrick was late to a meeting, so we didn't get to ask whether he thought at least some of that growth was legitimate.
Noting that an independent commission whacked lawmaker pay by 18 percent last year, Garrick said, "In these tough economic times, collective sacrifices need to be made."
We asked him what he would say to state workers who think that cutting state workers' pay and benefits is essentially balancing the budget on their backs.
"These are the facts," Garrick said in reference to the press release's statistics. "These are tough economic times ... This is a time of contraction."
We came away from the conversation with the distinct impression that Garrick isn't prepared to rubber stamp the labor deals that the unions worked out with Schwarzenegger.
Click here for the Assembly Republican Caucus press release.
PHOTO: GOP Assembly leader Martin Garrick, R-Solana Beach, during the 8th Extraordinary Session on Monday, February 22, 2010 at the Capitol in Sacramento. / Hector Amezcua, Sacramento Bee.