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Furlough Friday forced on state workers

February 6, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
The California state government has declared a fiscal state of emergency, and the result is closed state offices Friday.Mario De Paz was frustrated when he discovered that the DMV was closed until Monday, saying taxpayers should be warned whether offices would be closed or open. He said he had urgent business, but because of the furlough, it all has to wait.

To save money throughout California, most state offices were forced to close. State workers were told they had to take an unpaid day off two times each month, which amounts to a 9 to 10 percent pay cut.

One by one, customers at the DMV were told to turn back.

Meanwhile, workers wonder how they will handle the load when they reopen.

"Hopefully we'll be able to accommodate everybody, but it's questionable with the long lines," said furloughed worker Donald Banks.

Ninety percent of the state workers are impacted.

Job centers, where people file for unemployment and look for work, will remain open, as well as public safety and state departments that bring in money.

The budget shortfall is expected to reach $42 billion by June of next year, but there is a standoff in the legislature. Democrats don't want to cut social services, while Republicans don't want more taxes.

State workers simply want to work.

The furloughs will take place the first and third Friday of every month.

Eyewitness News Reporters Nannette Miranda and Miriam Hernandez contributed to this report.