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February 17, 2009

You're Terminated; Schwarzenegger Gives Up on Cal. Legislature

With no end in sight to the budget impasse, Governor Schwarzenegger has announced that layoff notices will be put in the mail today for the first group of up to 10,000 state employees to be laid off. He has also suspended the last 275 state-funded public works projects still in operation since he has no way to pay for them.

Schwarzenegger had delayed sending out pink slips since Friday, hoping that lawmakers would soon approve a budget. But they failed Monday to find a third GOP vote in the state Senate to achieve the two-thirds majority needed to pass a budget -- a requirement that essentially gives the minority Republicans veto power. A spokesman for Schwarzenegger said layoff notices would go out today.

Late Monday evening, both houses of the Legislature adjourned and Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) ordered senators back to the chamber at 10 a.m. today, saying they would stay until a budget passed.

"Bring a toothbrush," he said. "I will not allow anyone to go home to resume their lives or any kind of normal business."

Most Republican legislators are standing firm on their anti-tax pledge. The proposed budget includes a $14.4 billion tax hike, spending cuts of $16 billion, and loans of around $10 billion.


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