Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger took to the op-ed pages of the Wall Street Journal recently to make his case for pension reform and what ails the state of California’s fiscal health. The governor also looked to rebuff reports that he was bullying state workers and hammered in on what appears to be the thesis of the article, which is stated as follows: “California simply cannot solve its budgetary problems without addressing government-employee compensation and benefits.” The op-ed includes a graph that the Bee has pointed out the governor has made a point of using quite frequently to make a point about the difference in jobs losses between the public and private sector. The graph is as follows and shows that the number of California public employee jobs lost in 2008 and 2009 is few:
While some state workers have argued the graph is out of context, the Beeconcludes that within the timeframe mentioned, the state workforce saw a decline of 1 percent and the private sector a decline of 10 percent. The governor writes the following:
“I've held a stricter line on government employment and salary increases than any governor in the modern era (overall year-to-year spending has increased just 1.4% on my watch). Nevertheless, employee costs will keep marching upwards because of pension promises, and they will never stop doing so until we get reform. At the same time that government-employee costs have been climbing, the private-sector workers whose taxes pay for them have been hurting. Since 2007, one million private jobs have been lost in California. […] For years I've asked state legislators to stop adding to retirement debt. They have refused. Now the Democratic leadership of the assembly proposes to raise the tax and debt burdens on private employees in order to cover rising public-employee compensation.”You can read the full op-ed here. And to tie it all into the state’s much-delayed budget, the LA Times has reported that lawmakers in the Assembly and state Senate will vote on competing state budget plans on Tuesday. Notably, Tuesday is the end of the current legislative session. Read more about the scheduled vote here. And as for what Californians can expect from Tuesday's budget vote, the Bee details where the parties currently stand and how the process will play out. See here.