During a press conference this morning to tout his latest state budget plan, Gov. Jerry Brown said that he wants to hold down state payroll costs as his administration bargains new pacts with nearly a dozen unions.
One questioner noted noted that the administration is in contract negotiations and asked Brown why the new proposal didn't include employee costs.
"That's one of the things about bargaining. You put a number in and (the unions) know where you're going," Brown said. "Suffice it to say, we're aiming low."
Brown's representatives have signaled for months that the governor wants to hold the line on salaries. This morning he reinforced his position that education funding is his top budget priority.
An earlier version of Brown's 2013-14 budget proposal anticipates spending $15.7 billion on employee salaries for roughly 216,000 employees under his authority. A little less than half of that would come from the general fund.
The figure includes $502 million in negotiated top-step raises and health insurance contribution hikes that offset higher pension contributions already in place. The state will also lose the $840 million saved this year through one-day-per-month employee furloughs. State workers will all return to full schedules and pay on July 1.
PHOTO CREDIT: Gov. Jerry Brown takes a question during this morning's state budget press conference. Jeremy B. White / Sacramento Bee