Concerns Mount Among State Workers as California Faces Potential $68 Million Budget Shortfall


People who work for the state of California and the heads of their unions are worried about what a possible $68 billion budget shortfall could mean for the new year.

Local 1000 of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is preparing for what’s to come. The union’s board chair, Bill Hall, said that the gap has caused a lot of worry, especially since the union just signed a new deal that hasn’t been sworn in yet.

They are afraid that they will be the next ones to lose their jobs or be affected.

“Working with the State of California, because of the policy, it presents some really difficult challenges, and as a union, I think Local 1000 is just going to have to get a lot more aggressive in how we fight and defend our membership,” he said.

Still, that hasn’t done much to calm down workers’ worries just yet.

One of Anna Hollingshead’s jobs is with the Legislative Analyst’s Office. She said that news of the budget shortage came about six months later than usual. It was said that pay changes and other tools and plans are on the table. One option is to cut back on one-time costs.

Hollingshead said, “We’re low-hanging fruit” when it came to letting people go. They come to us first, before going anywhere else.

Hall said that the state should cut jobs even though it would be risky because the budget gap is so big. There is a $68 billion gap, but a 10% pay cut for everyone would only make up $400 million of it. Hall said that cuts could be put in other areas first.

“One out of every four desks is already empty,” Hall said. “You want to wait longer at the DMV?”

Hall said that the state, not the workers, is to blame for the budget shortage.

This policy, “boom or bust,” is a tax policy. “It’s a political answer,” he said.

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