The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

September 12, 2011
A.M. Reading: Jerry Brown's jam; Scott Walker's finger-waving personal protester; 10 pension 'secrets'

Thumbnail image for newspaper_5.gifRaft of labor-backed bills are a challenge for Jerry Brown
As the Legislature finished in a flurry early Saturday and left town, it left Gov. Jerry Brown in a jam. Among the raft of bills approved in the final hours of the legislative session were several union-backed measures that, if Brown vetoes, could strain his already-complicated relationship with labor and, if he signs, could upset his business friends. (Sacramento Bee)

George Skelton: Howard Jarvis kills Brown tax plan
The most powerful person in the state Capitol last week was not the governor or a legislative leader, at least on taxes. It was Jon Coupal. Jon Coupal? He's a disciple of the legendary anti-tax crusader Howard Jarvis. (Los Angeles Times)

A New Effort Seeks Big Change To Public Pensions In TX
For decades, state, county, and local governments have provided defined-benefit pensions for public employees. The employees are promised a certain amount each month in retirement, based on their salaries and years of service. A Houston attorney says those programs are unsustainable. He's leading an effort to change the way public retirement programs are handled. The goal is to make public employees bear the same retirement responsibilities, and risks, as workers in the private sector. (KHUF) FM

The governor's serious credibility gap
Back in May 2009, (Illinois Gov. Pat) Quinn warned that if the General Assembly didn't pass his proposed income tax increase within two weeks he'd have to implement a "doomsday budget" and lay off more than 14,000 teachers, cancel preschool for 100,000 children, cut 400,000 students off of college aid, kick 650,000 people off of health care rolls, eliminate all funding for public transit, slash a billion dollars to local governments, lay off 1,000 state troopers and release 6,000 inmates from prison early. Two months later, Quinn threatened to lay off 2,600 state workers because the Legislature's budget was inadequate. Two weeks after that, Quinn had pared down the total threatened cuts to a billion dollars, including $225 million for college student aid, and said there was no way the government could operate through the end of the fiscal year without a tax hike. Almost none of that happened, even though Quinn didn't get his tax hike until almost two years later. (Capitol Fax)

Editorial: Ordering state workers to clam up over voter IDs is wrong
Gov. Scott Walker's assault on democracy reached a new low with the firing by his administration of a state employee who was charged with emailing information to fellow employees about the provisions of the voter ID law, which requires the Department of Transportation to give out free photo IDs for voting purposes. (Capital Times)

Walker protester honks off troopers
Some foes of Gov. Scott Walker march at the Capitol and carry protest signs. Others join local demonstrations. Still others send letters to the governor's office. Then there's this guy. Between 5:30 p.m. and 5:45 p.m. each day, someone in a black Honda would drive past Walker's house in Wauwatosa, blow his horn like crazy, give the finger through his sunroof and shout, "Recall Walker." ... The driver was Azael Brodhead, a 36-year-old Iraq War veteran who works for the state Department of Corrections as a probation and parole agent. (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

10 Things Pension Plans Won't Tell You
1. "We're disappearing."
2. "You may not be getting as much as you thought."
3. "We sometimes gamble with your money."
(Smart Money)

Politifact: Congressman Bill Pascrell says more than 600,000 public employees have been laid off in the past 18 months
U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell says public-sector layoffs are dragging down the nation's overall job growth. (New Jersey Star-Ledger)

About 4,100 Arkansas retirees still on the job
LITTLE ROCK -- As it turns out, there are more than 4,100 "rehired retirees" in the state teacher retirement system based on its latest numbers, rather than the 3,800 it previously indicated, but about a third of them weren't "rehired," and the official description of all of the "rehired retirees" is changing. Oh, they're still people drawing both state paychecks and state pension checks, all right. (Associated Press / Baxter Bulletin)

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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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