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Governor Orders More Furloughs

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KCBS) _ With a continuing impasse over the state budget, Governor Schwarzenegger is bringing back furloughs for thousands of state workers.

Aaron McLear, spokesman for the governor’s office said he has ordered the furloughs because they helped during last year’s fiscal crisis.

“The program last year with furloughs saved about $1.4 billion. And this program will save about $150 million per month by furloughing about 150,000 state employees,” said Mclear.

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However, about 70,000 workers will be exempt from the furloughs.

“There are six unions who came to an agreement for pension reform and so they are exempt from this,” said McLear. “And also, there are certain employees who are in areas that generate revenue for the state. They are also exempt from this.”

Chris Voight with the California Association of Professional Scientists, which represents 3,000 scientists who work for the state, said the members of his union do valuable work and already tightened their belts during the furloughs last year.

“We look at this latest round as somewhat punitive for some reason. This doesn’t do much to save money for the state,” he said. “It seems a little bit like a dose of politics from the governor in order to get a budget agreement. We think he’s on the wrong track with this.”

The furloughs begin next month and according to the governor’s office, the order will remain in place until the legislature passes a budget.

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