San José, CA – On May 14, Democrat Governor Gavin Newsom laid out his plan to deal with a projected $54 billion budget deficit for the state of California. Included in the plan was to save almost $3 billion by cutting state workers’ pay by 10%.
Eleven years ago, California state workers were furloughed for one to two days a month as part of the effort to cut spending after a large budget deficit developed with the deep recession and financial crisis. While the unions tried to fight this, the courts ultimately sided with the state government. The furloughs continued for five years, even though the recession ended in 2009.
Ultimately, this is another attempt to put the costs of today’s pandemic and economic crisis on the backs of workers. This is being done directly, through pay cuts and/or furloughs of state workers. There are even larger indirect cuts, through cuts in education, health care and other state services. These cuts will fall on teachers and medical workers. They will also fall on the children of working people who rely on public school, and the lower-paid workers, the unemployed, and the poor who rely on public services.
These cuts will have a heavy impact on oppressed nationalities – Chicanos and Latinos, Asian Americans, and African Americans who are both state workers and whose communities will be hit by the cuts in services. Already, as in many states, Chicano, Mexicano, Central Americans and other oppressed nationalities are most heavily hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis. Cuts to state workers and education and healthcare just add even more pain to our communities from government austerity.
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