California may be warm, but no amount of dreaming is going to fix its budget. Governor Schwarzenegger (who is now less popular than the recalled Gray Davis) is trying to close a $19 billion budget hole--a little more than a fifth of last year's budget. He's ordered state employees to take:
3 unpaid furlough days per month
As a result, over 150,000 state employees are taking a substantial pay cut. The governor's executive order lasts only until California passes a budget, but it's easily possible that more furloughs will follow: last year, most state employees had to take 46 unpaid days off, a 14 percent pay cut. I'd write about the other steeps cuts the state is making, but California still lacks a budget, even though one was due five weeks ago. Last year, the budget fight lasted so long that the state began paying its employees in IOUs in an attempt to conserve cash. Among states with budget messes, California is king.