General Question

john65pennington's avatar

Does Calif. Gov. Schwarzenegger have authority to lower state employees salaries to minimum wage?

Asked by john65pennington (29192points) July 2nd, 2010

Gov. Schwarzenegger has written an Executive Order to the state comptroller, to lower the majority of California’s state employees salary to minimum wage, until a budget is passed. the state is currently in a $19 billion dollar deficit. does this governor have the authority to make such a drastic call in that state and why is California $19 billion dollars in the red? could it be the influx of illegal immigrants?

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43 Answers

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
bob_'s avatar

He does, according to a state appellate court. See here.

The influx of illegal immigrants has nothing to do with current budget crisis. See here.

Is there anything you don’t blame illegal immigrants for?

Judi's avatar

The State Controller Hero John Chiang is refusing to follow the order. Why don’t they suspend the Governor and the State Assembly pay until they can agree on a budget?

bob_'s avatar

@Judi That probably wouldn’t make a difference for Schwarzenegger, since he’s a very wealthy individual.

Andreas's avatar

”...why is California $19 billion dollars in the red?”

Simple: California spent more than its income over so many years.

bob_'s avatar

@Andreas Exactly. When taxes are too low, bad things happen eventually.

YARNLADY's avatar

Governor Schwarzenegger does not accept the $175,000 Governor’s salary from the State for the work he does.

ipso's avatar

@bob_ – Prop 13 is one of the most important social “wins” I know of for the middle class. I suspect strongly you have no idea what you are talking about. Particularly your statement “The influx of illegal immigrants has nothing to do with current budget crisis” and then your ridiculous link to support it.

Try this.

And your simple logic that the problem is because taxes are too low is hilarious!

There are too many illegal immigrants in the United States.

Judi's avatar

@bob_ , I know, but it’s the principal. Here we go with another flood of foreclosures if Chiang is forced to comply! Maybe enough people will get scared away from voting for Meg Whitman who would be worse!
Did you know that the CHP is not getting the pay cut (their union supported the Governator) but the Correctional officers are? Really?

shilolo's avatar

@ipso Actually, Proposition 13 is one of the major reasons California is essentially bankrupt. For someone to pay ridiculously low property taxes that don’t reflect the true value of the home puts a tremendous burden on the rest of the budget. Also, the entire proposition system itself, which allows the morons citizens of the state to vote for every entitlement means we spend too much.Since revenue needs to equal spending, if revenue is crippled by a lack of property taxes, and people don’t or won’t accept higher payroll taxes (we already pay 10% state tax), where will the revenue come from? You clearly don’t understand basic economics or you would understand why most economists recognize proposition 13 as a financial disaster for the state. Unfortunately, it is now so entrenched in the mindset of Californians that it will take a supernatural act to get it overturned.

bob_'s avatar

@ipso You call my link ridiculous, and then you provide that one? Seriously? I mean, I’ll be the first to admit that Wikipedia isn’t the most serious source, but c’mon… Anyway, try this one instead.

@Judi I did not know that. Sadly, that’s just the way most things in politics are. By the way, I also didn’t say I supported the measure, or the Governor. I did like some of his movies, though.

@shilolo One thing about days of reckoning: they eventually arrive.

ipso's avatar

@shilolo – not once do you acknowledge that spend is what causes debt.

I think that is what irks me most. So many seem to blow right by that fact in some kind of entitlement dementia.

I stand rock solid that Prop 13 is the best thing for the middle class I know of. Of course limiting access to funds will piss off the spenders. That’s the point – limit uncontrolled spend – including the completely irrational notion of educating and providing medical care to illegal immigrants. It’s not the immigrants fault at all – it’s the SPENDER’S FAULT!

@bob_ – so you ‘re sticking to your statement ”The influx of illegal immigrants has nothing to do with current budget crisis.”? That’s kind of front and center. Your links are editorial. My link provides data sources and does right well to prove the point that your statement is incorrect grossly incorrect.

shilolo's avatar

@ipso Illegals don’t vote. All of the excess spending in California is promulgated by the great citizens of the state and propositions for increased spending for schools, roads, prisons, fire/police, etc. Again, you fail to understand basic economics. Most of the spending in the state IS NOT ON ILLEGALS. Even if every single illegal left the state today, proposition 13 will continue to decimate the state budget by greatly limiting revenues (in some areas, by >50%). Revenue needs to equal spending for a balanced budget, which is made significantly more difficult by Prop 13.

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
ipso's avatar

@shilolo – That’s the second time you’ve accused me of not understanding the basics of economics, which is unfounded, and ironic, since you continue to prove yourself anti-genus at same. You continue to demand revenue increase to account for an unchecked/unquestioned spend, which is a “let them eat cake” attitude.

“Even if every single illegal left the state today” (Nah – let’s hope for only 90% – but I like where you’re going with that) then it would be a much better place to live, legal immigration and worker permits could be better controlled and throttled based on the needs of our citizens, and the tax burden would be less. Sounds like sound policy to me!

And Prop 13 would continue right along doing what it has always done – keeping the spenders from spending other people’s money.

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
shilolo's avatar

@ipso The state is BANKRUPT, with a Republican governor at the helm for the past 6 years. If your own household were to be faced with the same circumstances, cut expenses (but they can only be cut so much since you need to eat, drive a car, have a house, etc.) AND try to raise revenue. Raising revenue for a person is hard, raising revenue for a government is easier, but requires more backbone than most politicians have. The fact that voters of the state were ALLOWED to basically fix their property taxes over the past 30 years favors homeowners at the expense of rentors and older homeowners at the expense of younger ones. That is not equitable, and burdens the younger workers of the state more than the older ones. Please, by all means, demonstrate your fantastic knowledge of economics by solving California’s crisis. Bonus points for demonstrating actual math (which I highly doubt you’ll be capable of, but we shall see).

By the way, I hope you actually READ my posts. You accuse me of ignoring spending, when my very first post said specifically that the voters of the state have enacted far too many propositions that increase entitlement spending. I’m a pragmatist and abhor the proposition system of California precisely because the majority of people have no idea about fundamental economic principles or the ability to think long term. I vote NO on every proposition simply because I don’t believe we should use that system altogether. I can’t wait for the day when the system is revoked, or, more likely, I will leave the state and take my expertise elsewhere (as many of my friends and colleagues have done).

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
jerv's avatar

While Republicans are often all over the Democrats for being all “tax and spend”, the truth is that many of those Republicans have no problem with spending now and billing the grandkids… unless that spending improves the lives of someone who isn’t already filthy rich anyways.

As for whether Schwarzenegger has the authority, the courts seem divided on that last I heard.

Personally, I have to wonder how many district attorneys and public defenders will stay on and how many will be forced to go to McDonalds where the pay is actually better,. I’ll bet that they can’t make their mortgages on minimum wage, so here come foreclosures. I know that if I only earned minimum wage, I would be on food stamps as well; a program funded by the government.

This won’t end well, and sadly, CA is often a trendsetter so the rest of the US may follow suit in a few years.

shilolo's avatar

@jerv You are right on. This article in the New York Times highlights the problems in Illinois, which is a smaller state but appears to be even worse off financially than California. Guess what, they don’t have nearly as many illegals, but they’re in a worse spot. Who are they going to use as scapegoats in Illinois? I KNOW… People from the future.

ipso's avatar

@shilolo wrote “Please, by all means, demonstrate your fantastic knowledge of economics by solving California’s crisis.””Don’t spend more than revenue allows.” Start, by stop paying for illegal aliens education and medical care to the tune of up to $9B dollars a year. Of course this alone will not solve the budget problem, but it is a damn good place to start for a $20B budget deficit.

Blame the Republicans, blame the voters, blame the Liberals, blame Schwarzenegger, blame Prop 13, blame yourself for not leaving earlier, blame middle class home owners, blame anyone who you feel convenient – by all means – confabulate all you want, but you are not allowed a pass on illegal aliens who have a significant impact on tax burden.

jerv's avatar

@ipso While I agree that the illegals have some impact, I feel that you are rather overstating your case and trying to assign enough blame to them that you are coming across as totally racist.

Unless you actually are a xenophobic bigot which I doubt. I would dial in back a notch and chill out a little!

shilolo's avatar

@ipso Let’s address your concerns about illegals. First, the 9 billion figure is a disputed amount, as the authors of the study readily admitted that the bulk of that figure came from education expenses to the tune of 7.7 billion. However, they included American citizen children of illegal immigrants (which make up ~60% of the total) in that calculation, which assumes that we shouldn’t be educating them either, even though they are citizens. However, let’s take your 9 Billion figure at face value.

Let’s imagine one is able to put through a measure eliminating all social support for illegals, and many (or all) decide to leave as a consequence. The right would say, “woo hoo, we win.” Now, let’s follow the domino effect of this victory. In CA alone, ~⅔ of all the farm workers are illegals, and agriculture accounts for 36 billion in revenue, annually. So, who is going to harvest all these crops without the illegals? What will happen to the CA economy then? Losing significant revenue from the $36B agribusiness would easily offset the “gain” from not spending $9B on benefits. FYI, I’m just using agriculture as an example because it is convenient, you could include simple construction, landscaping, warehouse work, fast food, etc.

I’m sure you’ll say “those jobs will be filled by Americans”, but clearly, Americans haven’t stepped up to take menial labor jobs that pay less than the poverty line. Indeed, the only way this plan works is if the illegals’ jobs are rapidly filled by unemployed CA residents (who agree to be paid a pittance and not receive benefits or unionize, of course). If the jobs are filled by people coming from out of state (because they hear there are jobs to be had in CA), then CA is STILL on the hook to provide benefits to these newly arrived American workers, and the financial benefit of kicking out all the illegals is lost (and we still go bankrupt). You might suggest that at least these newly arrived Californians will pay taxes, but when your annual salary is $15–20K (the salary of a farmworker), your marginal tax rate is 10–15%. With deductions, those workers are likely to pay little to no taxes.

Still like the idea of kicking out all the illegals? Or, do you simply want them to fall into greater indentured servitude (work for pennies AND get nothing in return).

Judi's avatar

Most illegals pay taxes and don’t bother to file a return and get their refund. They probably pay at a higher rate. They just show a fake SS card and only work seasonally so it doesn’t catch up to them. When it does catch up, they get another card and change jobs. Really they probably pay MORE taxes than citizens. California also has a sales tax and they pay plenty there too.

Judi's avatar

To get back on topic
My daughter, the wife of a Corectional officer put this in a facebook discussion on the subkect:

They can’t walk out they are legally bound to show up. It’s in their contracts, and though the benefits of the contracts have expired, the liabilities haven’t, it seems.And they have recently cracked down on sick call ins you need verification from a doctor for most of your call ins. Besides, the governor has been wanting to replace the prison… with a private one since he took office. If they decided to (illegally) strike he would happily fire them and do it his way. It’s a matter of public safety, and yet the governor won’t even give them the title of peace officers. He has had a serious agenda against COs from day 1. Highway patrol, on the otherhand, have been exempted from every single paycut/furlough/whatever because they are “essential to public safety”...? And he has the nerve to tell the COs that everyone has to do their part! Of course we know that—we just don’t want our family to have to suffer for someone else’s political agenda! (I’m yelling at HIM here, btw!). It’s so unjust it gets my blood boiling. I know people who might lose their houses, who will barely be able to feed their kids, and all so some rich guy can try to bully a bunch of stubborn politicians who are clinging to their ideals instead of compromising like their job asks them to do! Again, marriages and governments fail without compromise, and we are headed for failure.

ipso's avatar

<whisper> ok – point taken – no more bold shouting

@shilolo The issue is if illegal immigrants have impact on California’s budget deficit, because I refuted Bob’s statement that immigrants had “nothing to do with” it, and then his chide “Is there anything you don’t blame illegal immigrants for?” as if anyone who dares to even bring it up is racist.

Then you jumped in with Prop 13, which is entirely valid to the OP (although I differ in opinion and think it has helped middle income families; particularly small California farmers, of which when I was growing up it was a big deal – and by the way, we used a mix of legal and illegal workers, so I do know something of which I’m talking about, particularly how beautiful and amazing and wonderful illegal families can be), but you are doing everything you can in a seemingly desperate effort to avoid or negate or diffuse the fact that the volume of illegal aliens do in fact cause significant tax burden. Confabulate and wiggle all you want, you pick the number. Point still stands solid.

And then you go on.

The common “who would pick our fruit or clean our toilets” [my words] argument is old too. Ever been to Oregon? They do just fine. I think Californians should start to clean their own toilets more, pick their own grapes more, and make their own fast food more, vs. expecting another illegal immigrant subculture to do it, pretty much categorically. However, your “woo hoo, we win” scenario (where you try to put words into my mouth by pre-quoting me) implies that all immigrants are gone, raining $36B industry doom. No. The point would be to put California back in control via work permits of legal immigrant workers to serve the needs of our people, not the demands of illegal foreigners.

jerv's avatar

@ipso I think you should take a look at this question again and realize that for a Californian to pick their own fruit or clean their own toilet would result in either massive expense increases for employers or a lot of jobs going unfilled.

Of course, we made legal immigration such a bitch that it’s no wonder we have so many illegals. The way I see it, if we fixed that issue then we wouldn’t have so many problems.

I should also point out that many of the arguments I’ve heard about illegals apply to poor Americans as well. The fact that my wife and I actually had to pay a little bit of Federal income tax for 2009 puts us ahead of about 47% of Americans, so almost half our country is freeloading.

Ron_C's avatar

Whether he has the authority or not is not the point. Lowering wages is the opposite of stimulating the economy. If he wants to help California’s economy he needs to rework the income taxes, get rid of tax breaks for industries that don’t really contribute to the economy, and use some of the stimulus money to pay teachers and improve education while getting rid of useless courses like “women’s studies” and ethnic studies. Concentrate on basic education plus the arts and music.

Dump political appointed administrative positions and perks, lower staff salaries to reasonable rates.

Destroying the middle class, destroys democracy and the economy.

jerv's avatar

@Ron_C There is something you are overlooking here though. See, the rich people, who support the trickle-up economics and corporate tax breaks at the expense of everyone else typically vote Republican while those that are actually being hurt by those policies will wind up homeless and therefore ineligible to vote in many districts, thus ensuring that those in power stay in power.

Ron_C's avatar

@jerv you have that right. The amazing thing is that the corporatists actually have ordinary people working for them under the auspices of the Tea Party.

I would say that the Americans will get what they deserve but I live here. I am trying to be responsible and stop them from turning us into a feudal country. With CEO’s as our lord and masters.

jerv's avatar

@Ron_C I think you’re about 30 years too late for that.

Ron_C's avatar

@jerv that’s just about right. I should have known. I was a republican until Reagan ran. I was appaled by him and his supporters. I should have been more active but I was just out of the military and was still getting used to having the rights of citizens again. I never thought he would get a second term and lead a whole group of anti-Americans into government.

jerv's avatar

@Ron_C And I saw all this coming when I was 10 and Reagan had yet to even start campaigning for re-election….

Funny how a kid can see things coming that adults can’t see even with decades of hindsight :D

shilolo's avatar

@ipso Blaming illegal immigrants is a convenient method for distracting from our very real problems. The world has always had scapegoats (Jews, blacks, Irish immigrants, Italians and their mafia, and now illegal Mexicans), but scapegoating groups of people is not beneficial. What I tried to show is that this is a zero sum game. Kick out the illegals ≠ saving 9 billion dollars. In fact, kicking out illegals may actually increase our budget crisis if cost of living goes up while revenue goes down.

I don’t understand what “volume” has to do with anything. The net cost is the most important issue, whether from 1000 or 1 million people. Finally, you want a guest worker program. So do I. Assuming it is enacted, will those guest workers be allowed health and education benefits? If not, why would they want to come? Who would want to come for 6 months to pick strawberries if their kids can’t come along and go to school? If we do provide benefits, then won’t the costs be comparable?

You see, your attempt to blame our budget mess on illegals is misguided. (You’ve fallen into the Republican trap again: convince people that there is this giant problem, like flag burning or gay marriage, and make them vote against their economic best interestes). The giant mess in CA is due to spending too much (there’s that ridiculous proposition system again) and taking in too little taxes (and prop 13 hurts revenue in a big way). You think Prop 13 is a way to tighten the budget, but because of all the crazy propositions, and politician’s innate desire to spend (to maintain popularity), that is untenable. It is also the really a mistake to think that people voted for Prop 13 to control state spending. People are inherently selfish, and the precise motive is to not have to concede more in property taxes.

ipso's avatar

@shilolo wrote “Blaming illegal immigrants is a convenient method for distracting from our very real problems.“

I don’t blame illegal immigrants. I blame the decision makers who continue to allow $4–9Billion to be spent on illegal immigrants, which does nothing but draw more in. If anyone is “distracted”, it is you.

“kicking out illegals may actually increase our budget crisis”
You personal intuitions and pontification are unconvincing, and as yet completely without support.

“You’ve fallen into the Republican trap again: convince people that there is this giant problem, like flag burning or gay marriage, and make them vote against their economic best interestes.”

You’re full of crap. That is Liberal claptrap grandstanding, at best. Republicans (of which I am not a member) should not be… wait, what did you say? “scapegoating groups of people is not beneficial”

shilolo's avatar

@ipso Another answer full of logorrhea. Did you actually say something substantial? I’ve indicated (as have many economists) that illegal immigrants have a positive overall impact on the American economy. That you fail to understand that (shockingly~) is not my problem.

ipso's avatar

@shilolo The first link you provided is a chapter titled “Public Opinion about Immigration”. It is about “Immigration”, not illegal immigration [although mentioned tangentially in the last question], and is “mid-80’s” public opinion data. Not exactly a strong argument that illegal aliens don’t have a significant impact in the 2010 California budget deficit debate. So, once again (“shockingly~”), you can’t really support your point of view.

Your second link is titled: “What if we threw out all the illegal immigrants?” Once again (“shockingly~”) you’re using some false dementia that the proposed solution is to throw everyone out, causing some catastrophic doom. The only thing you’ve added in the last post is… what?

You wrote: “Did you actually say something substantial?”

Yes I did. You should read it again. And I will continue to hold you accountable for your bullshit statements for as long as you care to continue to make them. As my great grandfather might say, “Put some pants on the boy.”

shilolo's avatar

@ipso Are you able to provide actual DATA? Do you know what DATA is? Do you know how to interpret economics? The study I listed was indeed from the 80s, but did cover illegal immigration. There is no up to date survey, so that is the most recent reference point. The survey was of economists, not blowhards, and the later link also went into great detail debunking the idea that illegals are a drain on the US economy (despite its provocative title). You clearly didn’t read it (or maybe you did?), because you certainly didn’t comprehend it. Even the conservative Heritage foundation believes that the removal of illegal immigrants would lead to “perhaps a 1% slip in GDP.” If a conservative group believes that illegal immigrants account for 1% of GDP, what would a more centrist or liberal group predict? Well, it seems that ~5% of GDP is accounted for by work done by illegals. That isn’t chump change.

You are holding me accountable? That’s rich. It was you, and the OP, who pointed the vindictive finger at illegal immigrants. I have simply pointed out that there is NO BASIS for that assertion. I rue the education system that schooled you, though it certainly helps to be schooled now.

jerv's avatar

I have to side with the data here, and even dated data is better than dogma.
Of course, now that companies are keeping a tighter eye on expenses and illegals work cheaper than legal citizens, I would hazard a guess that the economic impact would be bigger now than it would’ve been then.

ipso's avatar

@shilolo Thank you for agreeing to all the flaws I pointed out in your first link. The question then is did you read the second MSN link before you posted it? As pointed out, both links are flawed submissions relative to the issue of California’s budget deficit; particularly since the second works under the doomsday scenario of “throwing out all the illegal immigrants”, which it mentions multiple times and never backs away from (kind of like you). You can’t just add a link and then spew whatever untethered emotional Liberal bullshit you can think of and get away with it. I won’t let you.

I liked where your article states (p2): “At the state level, there’s more agreement. Places such as Arizona, Texas, California and Nevada, which fork out billions for education and health care, would probably be ahead”.


Your doomsday article reminds me of something you said earlier about the Republicans… what was it? “convince people that there is this giant problem” [i.e. if we actually address the illegal immigrant tax burden]... “and make them vote against their economic best interestes.”

shilolo's avatar

@ipso Let’s see. I provide data, you provide critique that is as astute as “wow, that’s old…” Well, 20 year old data isn’t worthless, and in the sciences (and in economics), many seminal papers are much older than that. Now, I don’t pretend to say this is a seminal work, but it highlights the fact that a majority of economists believe that illegal immigration is beneficial to the US economy. Considering the CA economy is equal to the 6th largest in the world, and represents a significant proportion of USA GDP, I’m sure the same would apply to CA.

You accuse me of using a doomsday scenario, but what do you think would happen IF CA and other states made life unbearable for illegals. They would leave en masse. Now, many would feel vindicated, but illegals leaving “willingly” versus being deported makes no difference from an economic standpoint.

Moving on to your second “point”, which you conveniently took out of context, there is much more to the article than that. You conveniently forgot this nugget “The biggest losers would be middle-class families with two working parents, living in high-immigrant states such as California, Texas, Florida or New York. Why? They would pay more for food, housing, entertainment and child care as a shortage of low-skilled workers drove up some wages, and therefore, some prices. Meantime, their own pay would remain the same. What’s more, the ripple effect of thousands of businesses shrinking or closing for lack of staff might put one of the parents out of a job. Not to mention the garbage collection going to pot and no one to polish the missus’ nails.”

Also, how convenient of you to shorten the precise quote you take me to task for, an act of someone with true character and intellectual integrity(~). Referring only to state taxes the article stated “At the state level, there’s more agreement. Places such as Arizona, Texas, California and Nevada, which fork out billions for education and health care, would probably be ahead—though not by a lot overall.” (emphasis mine)

I’m done with this thread. You’ve been given ample opportunity to present factual data to support your claim, which you are unable to do. The best you can do is provide oversimplified critiques, talking points and even presenting quotes out of context and modified to suit your agenda. I suggest you educate yourself a bit more about the standards of writing and debate, as well as macroeconomics.

ipso's avatar

@shilolo You did not provide data, you provided links with public opinion poles and editorial articles based on a “doomsday” [my words] scenario of “12 million illegal immigrants” magically gone. Poof. What would the economy look like then? That scenario is replete through all your posts. You have yet to prove your erroneous and delusionary claim that illegal immigrants are immaterial to California budget deficit.

I won’t quit. I will never quit, in calling out grandstanders like yourself who obfuscate obvious facts to further their own Liberal agendas; especially blithe economic pandering like yours, effectively promoting growing illegal immigrant levels to bolster short sighted GDP % – as if the illegal immigrants have an economic gun to our head – as if we could not support our own communities – as if we could not define our own LEGAL method of work visas and immigration – as if illegals had nothing whatsoever to do with the California budget deficit.

It’s not about feeding the almighty GDP capitalist machine – it’s about what is right. Illegal immigration at the levels we have today in California is not right. In fact, it’s a cluster fuck – as evidenced by illegal immigrant’s contribution to tax burden.

It is not the illegal immigrant’s fault. It is the fault of decision makers who pay $9B a year on illegal alien benefits, and blowhards like yourself who try (but often fail) to mask reality with a gauze of bullshit Liberal agenda speak.

It is not the illegal immigrant’s fault. I have met literally hundreds of illegal immigrant farmer family members in my life, and love and respect many of them beyond measure. That does not alter the fact that reform is needed in regards to California’s budget deficit.

It is not the illegal immigrant’s fault. I have printed out and reread all of your links (sans 55 pager), and quite literally find nothing to remotely support your wholesale pass of illegal immigrant reform in regards to California’s 2010 budget deficit (to the tune of $9B annually, as has been stated in multiple links you yourself provided). Indeed I would hand your links back in your face to reread to further support the magnitude of the problem illegal immigrants post to California tax burden.

Ron_C's avatar

I notice tha this question has evolved away form the original about the governor’s authority to illegal immigration.

The whole issue is that employers have found a way to outsource jobs away from American workers who would be covered by our ever decreasing legal protections. I submit that when all labor law are abolished and Americans can be abused and reduced to serfdom, illegal immigration for jobs will cease. There will remain a percentage of people escaping from Mexico to protect their lives but the incentive to hire illegals will not exist.

If you really want to stop exporting jobs, insist that employers provide a living wage for ALL of their employees and insist that the employ all fair labor practices and safety rules.

There will be a number of companies that will say that they will close under those conditions, I say fine. A business plan that depends on exploiting workers deserves and must fail in a democratic country, and good riddance to them.

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