The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

May 27, 2011
California state salary freeze bill hits dead end -- again

Thumbnail image for 110413 Portantino.jpgA bill that would freeze pay for the highest-paid state workers stalled today in the Assembly Appropriations Committee, effectively killing it.

The 15-member committee held Assembly Bill 7, a measure that Assemblyman Anthony Portantino , D-La Cañada Flintridge, puts up every session. Holding his legislation in committee killed it, since today is the deadline for fiscal committees to send bills out for chamber floor votes.

The measure would have frozen pay increases until Jan. 1, 2014, for any state employees whose base pay is more than $150,000 a year. It would have applied to workers in the executive, legislative or judicial branches of government, appointees to state boards and commissions and employees of the California State University system. It wouldn't apply to University of California employees, although it urges the system to play along.

CalPERS, CalSTRS and the UC system have objected, saying the freeze would hurt recruiting and retaining top-flight employees.

In April, Portantino defended the measure as a money-saver that also sends a message.

"In time of budget deficits and high unemployment ... and deep budget cuts, it makes no sense to let CSUS administrators hand out bonuses or for investment officers at CalPERS to get bonuses," he said. He figured the freeze would have saved state payroll about $20 million.

This is at least the eighth time Portantino's pay freeze legislation has failed.

PHOTO: Anthony Portantino /

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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


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