Citizens Compensation Commission approves the reduction for 132 elected officials after Brown proposed a similar cut for other state employees. 'Everybody has to sacrifice,' one commissioner said.
Charles Murray of the California Citizens Compensation Commission, right, talks to commission Chairman Thomas Dalzell in Sacramento. The panel approved Murray's proposal to cut the pay of lawmakers and statewide elected officials by 5%. (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press / May 31, 2012)
SACRAMENTO — Gov. Jerry Brown and state lawmakers will take the same 5% hit to their pay that the governor has proposed for rank-and-file state workers, a state panel decided Thursday.
The Citizens Compensation Commission, created by California voters to set salaries and benefits for certain elected officials, approved the pay reduction for 132 elected state officers two weeks after Brown proposed the cut, through a workweek reduction, for other state employees.
Officials should share the pain they are imposing on civil service workers even if it makes only a small dent in the nearly $16-billion budget deficit, Commissioner Charles Murray said. The panel's action will save the state about $657,000 a year.
"I think we will send a message that we have to get out of this hole," he said. "Everybody has to sacrifice."
The vote was 5 to 1, and the pay reduction will kick in Dec. 3.
Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) called the panel's move "unfortunate," noting that it comes on top of an 18% slice the commission took from the officials' pay three years ago when other state workers were put on furloughs.
Given that the furloughs have ended but the 18% reduction remains, Perez said, "we believe the commission's cut is punitive and ignores the size and complexity of the job and the facts regarding comparable legislative bodies."
Assemblyman Gil Cedillo (D-Los Angeles), who made an unsuccessful challenge to the previous cuts, said the commission's action hurts the state by making it hard for average citizens to get involved in public service as lawmakers.
"We're clearly heading in the direction where only the wealthy can serve," Cedillo said. "We [legislators] have to live in two cities, our regular costs are doubled and our salaries may not be able to accommodate that."
In addition to the governor and legislators, the lieutenant governor, attorney general, controller, treasurer, members of the state Board of Equalization and others will have their pay reduced.
The governor proposed in May to reduce the workweek for many state employees from 40 to 38 hours as a way of cutting payroll by 5%. On Thursday, Brown seemed to take it in stride that his annual salary will shrink from $173,987 to $165,288.
"Look, I'd run for governor whether it was a paid job or not," he told reporters. "I derive a lot of psychic income."
Even at his current salary, the governor is paid less than state judges and many county administrators, said Commission Chairman Thomas Dalzell, who abstained from the vote but voiced opposition to the panel's action.
He said the legislators' annual $95,291 pay puts them on par with skilled construction workers, and their new pay will be $90,527.
"To cut them further boggles my mind," Dalzell said.
Although California provides the highest base pay for legislators of any state in the country, Commissioner Ruth Lopez Novodor said other states provide their lawmakers with pensions, which current California officials do not receive. [The wealthy don't need pensions, do they comrades. - Dan]
Novodor cast the only vote against the pay cut, arguing that the 18% reduction approved in 2009 brought the officials' salaries close enough to those of comparable positions.
"I believe that we are at equilibrium already," she said.
Times staff writer Anthony York contributed to this report.
Ordinarily, I'd be LMWAO over this, but think about it.
Considering the high salaries plus a $30,000 expense account, plus a state card and gas credit card, it's a good start. However, I can't help but be suspicious. Considering that most of these people are millionaires, a five percent cut won't mean much. Most of them have other sources of incomes like their own businesses, and investments. I'm sure they won't even notice the loss, financially speaking, unlike the average person who could find a five percent loss in pay unacceptable, and would definitely hurt financially. In other words, a five percent pay cut will hurt the rank-and-file state workers a lot harder than it will the politicians. I think at least 25% is in order.
Perhaps these cuts are all a sort of scam. Perhaps the state, which is planning massive budget cuts, including social programs and services to residents may, and probably are trying to soft soap us. When they announce their big cutbacks, and we moan and groan about it, they can say, "Hey, this affects all of us. We took a five percent pay cut, so we're hurting too."
Yeah right. When you make $90,000 a year, that's about a $4,000 cut. But you still have your $30,000 expense account, and free car, plus any outside income you may have from business and investments. Five percent is nothing.
Most politicians aren't in this for the salaries anyway. That's peanuts to them. They make their real money from the Judeo-Capitalists who funnel tons of money into their "campaign accounts" and even their personal bank accounts. Plus, if they have businesses of their own or investments - which most do - they can manipulate the law to benefit those businesses and investments. For example, if they own millions of dollars in stock in California corporations, it's to their benefit if they vote to kill new business taxes. New business taxes could negatively effect corporate profits, which would cause their stock to drop in value.
As a California resident, I fear they have something really special planned for the Working and Middle Class. How bad it will be, only the future can tell, but I'd be prepared for anything.
Because of the fact that California is a majority-minority state with Whites accounting for only about 15% of the population, there's not a whole lot the ANP can do about it. We waited too long to act and now it is too late here - but not in most other states. Only about seven states are majority-minority, so let's not let the rest of the country go that way. As long as we are still the majority, and we are in 42 states, it is NOT too late. But it soon will be. In about 20 -30 years it will be all over for us - unless we do something NOW. Not later, but now.
We must support the ANP. Give as much as you can. I hate to keep harping on this, but without money, we can do very little. Also in the news today, a billionaire in California held a Republican fundraiser at his mansion. It was $50,000 a plate! That's not a type-o. Not $500. Not $5,000. But $50,000. You know damn well that only the ruling elite could afford even one plate, let alone two. After all, how many million and billionaires go to these things without their wives or a date? That means $100,000 a couple! At my highest annual salary ever, that's three years pay! This event alone PROVES who Mitt Romney represents. It's certainly not us.
When we ask our Supporters to send in an extra $10 or $20, we're not trying to scam you out of money. It's amazing how many gullible working class Republicans will send in $20, $50, or even $100 of their hard-earned money to support these parasites. The Democrats too.
As the old saying goes people, "You get what you pay for." And what these working class suckers will be paying for is to elect someone who will work very hard to bleed them dry.
I've posted this joke before, but I'll post it again because it's so true.
What's the difference between a Republican politician and a Democrat?
The Republican will bleed you dry first chance he gets. The Democrat will shake your hand, call you pal, and THEN bleed you dry.