By demanding furloughs among a wide swath of state employees, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger may actually be costing the state federal money.
The furloughs were designed to reduce the state's budget deficit. But a number of state employees subject to the furlough have salaries that are paid with federal money -- the same federal money that Schwarzenegger has been demanding a bigger share of in trips to Washington.
The Social Security Administration's Inspector General has found that furloughs of Disability Determination Services workers would cost our state $30.6 million in lost federal funds while delaying $98.5 million per year in disability payments to disabled Californians.
Employees of the Employment Development Department have also worked unpaid on furlough days and weekend days, as the state is dead last in paying unemployment claims on time even with jobless numbers across the state breaking records.
The governor-appointed Citizen's Commission on Compensation, meanwhile, is looking to cut pay and benefits to state elected officials another 10 percent, after an 18 percent cut last year.
That pay cut would affect the governor, in theory. However, the already-wealthy Schwarzenegger doesn't cash his paychecks. The worry is that candidates who aren't independently wealthy might be discouraged from running for office, and that existing lawmakers might make ethical compromises to bolster their more meager salaries.
Jackson West doubts the proposed pay cut will cool any heals in the attorney general or lieutenant governor races.