Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger may have to find a new way to solve the state's budget crisis after a Superior Court judge ruled that mandatory unpaid furloughs for state employees were illegal.
Alameda County Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch ruled Thursday that the governor did not have the authority to order unpaid days for state employees. A spokesman for Schwarzenegger said the state would appeal the decision.
Three state employee unions, including one representing 95,000 employes, filed the lawsuit challenging the governor's order.
If the Supreme Court doesn't reverse Roesch's decision, Schwarzenegger will have to find some more money in his 2009-2010 budget. The controversial furlough program initially required state employees to take two unpaid days each month, an effort to close a $24 billion budget gap, according to the Sacremento Bee. Schwarzenegger added a third "Furlough Friday" in July.
The policy was expected to save $2.2 billion in payroll costs this fiscal year, the Bee reported.