The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

September 1, 2010
Schwarzenegger on budget: 'Is it pensions or parks?'

100901 95688688JS009_GOVERNOR_SCHW-thumb-175x247-14013.jpgThis just in from our Bee Capitol Bureau colleague, Kevin Yamamura:

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger left little doubt today that cutting state employee pensions remains one of his top priorities in budget negotiations. He is demanding that lawmakers roll back pension guarantees for future state hires as a condition to signing the budget.

The state is scheduled to pay $2.1 billion in general fund dollars (and $3.8 billion overall) for state pensions in 2010-11, while the general fund deficit is $19 billion. Any pension reductions would have minimal impact on the current budget deficit, since most savings would come in future years. But it has become a signature issue for Schwarzenegger, who believes pension costs will crowd out other state expenditures in the future.

"The question we have to ask ourselves is, is it pensions or is it parks?" he said today in a budget press conference. "Is it pensions or higher education? Is it pensions or child care? And the list goes on and on, because that's where the money comes from. Those are the areas where we are taking this money because of the pensions."

Click here to read the rest of Kevin's report on our sister blog, Capitol Alert.

PHOTO CREDIT: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger talks about the state budget at City Summit 2010 on Tuesday in San Francisco. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/ Getty Images)

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About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at jortiz@sacbee.com.

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