California Worker Furloughs Increase State’s Long-Term Costs

SACRAMENTO (CBS/AP) – The state employee furloughs started under Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger greatly increased the cash-out liabilities owed by California taxpayers when those workers leave government service.

A report released Thursday by the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office says payments to employees for accrued leave time are at historic levels, reaching nearly $270 million in the last fiscal year.

The furloughs were intended to help close budget deficits and saved the state about $5 billion over five years. But nearly $1 billion now must be paid to employees in accrued leave time when they quit or retire.

Phil Matier: Crunching the Numbers on Furlough Fridays

The report says many workers simply substituted furloughs for their normal vacation days, increasing the state’s liabilities.

California’s long-term liability to pay employee leave balances is now $3.9 billion annually, or 27 percent of all salary costs.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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