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A ray of sunshine…. :-)

Misery loves company.:-)

Without much acrimony, I would like to let you know that the California State Legislature now faces an 18% pay cut, from a base salary for legislators of $116,208 to $95,291 on December 7, 2009.

Although the move will not likely make the date less infamous, it will spread the pain of fiscal mismanagement to those who were directly involved. (Now, if we could just do that with corporations….)

Although I can spare the acrimony, I cannot spare the irony (definition 3a). :-)

The California Legislature went to state Attorney General Jerry Brown to seek relief from a FUTURE pay cut and instead received a shock. The pay cut can begin on December 7 instead of a YEAR from now! The Legislature had protested that a pay cut that was scheduled to follow next year’s election was ILLEGAL. Brown responded that the independent pay board has the power to cut officeholders’ compensation NOW, without waiting until after the next election! :-)

As Gomer Pyle used to say, “Surprise, surprise, surprise….”

The chairman of the Citizens Compensation Commission, Charles Murray reportedly stated, “We’re broke. This cut needs to happen now. It’s the right thing to do.” He immediately asked the state controller to cut the affected salaries, which includes Brown’s, next month.

The move by Brown could help his political career. Although he has not officially declared his candidacy, Brown is considered the Democratic front runner in the race for California Governor. As the LA Times article states, “Approval ratings for Sacramento politicians are dismal. Cutting their pay has obvious populist appeal.”

I’m glad that it is “not just me.” :-)

The total yearly savings for the compensation cuts is estimated to be $2.9 million. Although the Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) has already taken a voluntary 5% cut, his salary will go from $133,639 to $109,584. The annual pay of the Governor will go from $212,179 to $173,987, although current governor Arnold Schwarzenegger does not accept a salary. The lieutenant governor’s pay will go from $159,134 to $130,490, and Attorney General Brown’s pay will drop from $184,301 to $151,127.

Brown stated on Thursday that the state Constitution allows the seven-member compensation commission, which is appointed by the governor, to reduce the salaries of legislators and other elected officials in the middle of their terms. Brown cited the 1990 approval of Proposition 112 by California voters, which requires the commission to “adjust the annual salaries of state officers” each year.

Brown’s opinion is an informal one, but it would carry much weight in court. His opinion did not address a legislative challenge to another cut that was approved by the commission, an 18% reduction in the “per diem” and car allowances of legislators, which is also scheduled to begin next month.

-Bill at Cheshire Cat Photo™

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