Economy State Government State Politics

The Lege Counsel Spikes The Governor’s Hostage Plan


At least somebody’s got their head screwed on rightside up.
Actually, make that two people in that State Controller John Chiang already said, Oh, hell, no! (or words to that effect) to Schwarzenegger’s absurd and callous take-the-state-workers-hostage-to-get-the-legislature-to-pass-the-budget plan.

The Sacramento Bee has the story.

The Legislature’s legal adviser is siding with Controller John Chiang in his defiance of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s plan to cut state workers to the federal minimum wage of $6.55 an hour.

In an opinion requested by state Sen. Dean Florez, D-Shafter, Legislative Counsel Diane Boyer-Vine wrote Friday that an executive order issued by Schwarzenegger could not force Chiang to start paying state workers the minimum wage in August.

Boyers’ opinion cited cases in which courts found that the controller may sometimes wield his or her authority independent of the governor.


Chiang, who believes the state has enough cash to pay full salaries through the end of September without a budget agreement, has said he plans to defy Schwarzenegger’s executive order should the governor sign it.

Florez asked the legislative counsel, the Legislature’s chief lawyer, to determine if the governor had the power to force Chiang to lower paychecks via executive order.

Florez said he hopes the legal opinion will cause Schwarzenegger to “reverse his actions and apologize.”

“We want to avoid any kind of lawsuit between the controller and the governor,” said Florez, who added that such a suit would be a “huge waste of energy, resources and time.”

The paycheck reduction idea was “very repulsive,” said Florez, who said the move showed “the governor at his lowest point.”

“There are a lot of ways to negotiate a better budget, rather than taking hostage state workers and forcing a minimum wage statute on them because he thinks he’s king and he can do it,” Florez said.

Uh, yeah. What Flores said.

Now if we can just get the brave and excellent Mr. Chiang to audit….this.


  • Great. An unelected bureaucrat decides that he should have more power than the elected governor. That guy doesn’t deserve praise. He should be fired.

  • Adam C., I checked, and the controller is elected. As I see it, his duties are administrative rather than one of setting policies, which he is trying to do by attempting to overrule the governor. He should be reporting financial information rather than deciding budget issues.

    He appears to be overstepping his elected duties, but he is a Democrat, was born in New York City, worked for the IRS, and was trained by Gray Davis. You guys can really pick ’em.

  • Yeah, I think working for Gray Davis is a black mark on anyone’s record:)

    Woody, you don’t think Arnold is over stepping his elected duties, if not legally then at least morally?

  • In all fairness, I must point out that the Gov is just trying to deliver a balanced budget, already overdue — he feels it’s so far in the red because of the excessive spending of the Democratic-controlled Assembly, which sees more taxes as the solution to everything, so he may be trying to grandstand here but he doesn’t have much other leverage since haranguing the Democrats to reign in spending hasn’t worked too well.

    Arnold was right a few years ago, when he wanted power to cap state spending etc., but the Democrats (with the help of his own wife) were successful in making him look like a Scrooge by mounting a recall that he survived by backtracking to giving into the Democrats. Back to Square one. The Democrats are looking under every cactus to see what taxes they can raise, especially on homeowners and the middle class although claiming to only want to hit “the rich,” leaving the Republicans scrambling to make more cuts to stave off taxes.

    I say this despite not liking any of the Republicans in the Assembly — they all represent areas outside of LA, and do their utmost to deprive us of our share of benefits — LA County pays way more into the state coffers than we get back, plus we’re stuck with the burdens of illegal immigration. A with the State of California and D.C.

  • WBC, I’m all for bringing a balanced budget, just not when it means holding 200,000 workers hostage. And I’d love to see the State more worried about the budget and less worried about banning trans fats from restaurants.

    I did – however – come across this article in the Sac Bee which was pretty interesting.

  • It’s the legislature that is holding the workers and taxpayers hostage.

    Senate Republican leader Dick Ackerman: “Already burdened with high taxes, the worst thing we can do is take more money from California’s hardworking families. Democrats would rather force taxpayers to adjust their budgets than say ‘no’ to special interests and their pet projects.”

    Maybe you guys haven’t noticed, but companies are pulling out of California and others not locating there because of the high tax structure. You guys are going to tax yourself into poverty.

  • News flash: Existing, long-established state parks aren’t “pet projects.” They’re a public trust. Los Angeles has less parkland per capita than any other large city in America and Topanga State Park is the largest wildland area within city limits in America.

    Schwarzenegger wanted to close Topanga and one of every five California parks and thus reduce the amount of parkland available to the state’s kids and families. Yeah, it really sucks that those damnible, pesky special interests stopped him.

  • Woody, by picking on kids who want to keep wilderness parks open to the public, a small price to pay for a much larger good, you’re not helping the Republican argument any. There are other “special interests” like the government unions which demand raises and extravagent perks even in the face of major budget crises, that many blame for a good chunk of both the city and state fiscal problems. Above all just general mismanagement, incompetence, and waste, starting with LAUSD.

  • I think Woody may have been trying to be funny. He certainly had me laughing. I did a double take – Woody’s not blame children is he? Holy crap! he is.

    Woody, I gotta say, you’re always entertaining!

  • Celeste: …get the brave and excellent Mr. Chiang to audit this.

    That’s what Gov. Schwarzenegger should say, “Hey, Chiang. Audit this, if you know what I mean.”

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