Just as the teachers of the Los Angeles Unified School District were forced to make concessions by tentatively agreeing to take furlough days in order to help solve the district’s budget crisis, California Highway Patrol officers have also tentatively agreed to take furlough time to help solve the state’s $16 billion budget gap.
The agreement states that 1600 CHP officers would be furloughed eight hours each month starting on July 1. There is an eerie similarity between the CHP officers’ agreement and the teachers of the LAUSD; in both cases the furloughed time amounts to a 5% pay cut.
Notably, the CHP was the first union to agree to cuts. And the decision must be made this week; the California legislature has until Friday to pass a state budget. Last month, Gov. Jerry Brown revealed that the state had a $16 billion deficit and asked state workers to take a five percent pay cut.
Department of Personnel Administration spokeswoman Lynelle Jolley said California has been trying to get its 214,000 state employees to take a cut in pay. The CHP was the first group to step forward.
The austerity measures in California are similar to the measures that voters rejected in Greece, which had the largest default in history. Greece has been temporarily bailed out by a European coalition made up of the European Union, the European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund, but the money loaned was only so Greece could pay off the interest on its debt. Meanwhile, the Athens office that tracks revenue said Greece could run out of money by July.
California has been heading for the economic cliff for years now, dominated by a Democratic legislature. Unless they are thrown out, it is likely that California will have the same bleak future as Greece.