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SACRAMENTO, CA - MARCH 24: California Gov. Jerry Brown stands next to a chart that shows dollar amounts in the millions that were cut from the State's budget following a bill signing on March 24, 2011 in Sacramento, California. California Gov. Jerry Brown signed 13 bills into law that will cut $11.2 billion from California's budget deficit. $12.6 billion still needs to be cut to balance the budget. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
The headline and short TV news reports say that Gov. Jerry Brown is granting most requests for exemptions from the state’s hiring freeze.
Aha – he’s not as cheap as he says he is!
Except that's not an accurate picture. The Sacramento Bee crunched the numbers and found that the exemptions Brown is granting don’t cost much at all.
That’s because he’s granting exemptions mainly for low-pay jobs without benefits, like lifeguards.
The Bee found that when you take out those kinds of jobs, Brown has turned down most requests for exemptions.
Of course, the back and forth over such small things -- $15 million a month in jobs in a state budget of more than $100 billion – doesn’t mean much.
The trouble with Brown isn’t the small things – he’s been getting those right.
The trouble with Brown is that he’s refusing to tackle the systemic change that the state needs if it’s ever going to be able to balance its budget, become more business friendly, and invest in its future.