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Thousands of CA state workers laid off

July 31, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Governor Schwarzenegger laid off thousands of state workers Thursday and cut the salary of about 200,000 more down to the federal minimum wage.No amount of hugs can comfort a stunned Celeste Knox, one of thousands of state workers who received a pink slip. The single mom closed on her very first house less than 24 hours ago, a house she thought she could afford.

Read the complete text of the executive order

"Now I can't because of some little game or some little ploy. It's not fair to me. I showed up to work. I do the job I was asked to do," said Knox.

With the state budget now a month late and cash reserves dwindling very quickly, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-California) apologized for signing the order that lays off thousands of part-time and temporary workers this first round, and slashes the pay of 200,000 employees to the federal minimum wage of $6.55 an hour.

"It is a terrible situation to be in. I don't think any governor wants to be in this situation," said Governor Schwarzenegger. "But this is the only way out."

Unions have been very vocal about the idea, but the protests did not convince Governor Schwarzenegger to abandon his plan; nor did it push lawmakers to agree to a state budget.

The executive order, signed by Governor Schwarzenegger on Thursday, puts pressure on leaders.

"I think that it adds pressure. I do. I believe that none of us wants to see something like this. Nobody wants to see people that are being affected that, frankly, don't have a part in the decision process," said Assemblyman Mike Villines (R-Clovis).

"On a given day, I feel like we take a step forward, and then we take a step backwards. I don't see why he needed to do this today," said Assembly Speaker Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles).

State workers will get their jobs back and receive full pay once a budget is in place. However, in the meantime, state workers like Celeste Knox are left wondering what to tell her lender.

"I don't know when this is going to end. I feel like a homeless person, with no resources at all," said Knox.

 

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