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Poll: Was Gov. Schwarzenegger right to order another furlough day?

July 1, 2009 |  1:44 pm

California budget, furloughs, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, public employee unions, SEIU Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Republicans in the Legislature are playing hardball with their Democratic counterparts: No new taxes, balance the budget with cuts and -- as Schwarzenegger ordered earlier today -- force state employees to take a third monthly furlough day, further reducing their pay. According to The Times' article, thousands of public employees plan to show up in Sacramento today to protest the additional pay cut.

The third imposed furlough day opens a deeper divide in one of the more drawn-out battles of this year's budgeting process: the one pitting public-employee unions and their Democratic allies in the Legislature against Schwarzenegger and state Republicans, who seemed to have rekindled their relationship after the May 19 special election. It's a topic being debated in this week's Dust-Up exchange between Jon Coupal of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn. and John Tanner, executive director of SEIU Local 721, which represents tens of thousands of government employees in Los Angeles County (their third and final exchange, in which they mull ideas to preserve state services in this budget crisis without reducing pay or laying off workers, will be posted later today). In the comments board for Monday's Dust-Up installment, several readers have come down on the side of Schwarzenegger and the GOP, posting comments similar the one left by "Pete":

The unions are a major part of the problem. Even as a liberal Democrat and a former union member, I can no longer support the entrenched self-interest of the AFL-CIO and in particular the SEIU in California. The millstone around the State's neck has many contributors to the weight besides Labor. But the current union contracts and negotiating positions are a huge impediment for California's [economic] re-development in today's world, and I hope Gov. [Schwarzenegger] digs his heels in even if he must suffer short-term political suicide. He will be seen as a hero in the long run.

What do you think of Schwarzenegger's action on state employees? Leave a comment below, take our poll or throw caution to the wind and do both.

Photo: Service Employees International Union protest Schwarzenegger's proposed furloughs and state employee pay cuts Tuesday, June 30 (Rich Pedroncelli/AP) 

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