Monday, February 15, 2010

Bill Seeks to End Some Furloughs for California Workers


California would end three-day-a-month furloughs for tens of thousands of state employees under a jobs bill that is scheduled for its first committee hearing this week.

The targeted employees would be those who work for agencies that collect taxes or receive their revenue from sources other than the state's general fund, such as the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Republicans have been critical of the Democratic proposal, saying it does not go far enough to create private-sector jobs.

The bill's sponsor, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, said allowing certain workers to return to their jobs full-time will actually generate more revenue for the state and improve customer service.

He said furloughing workers at the Franchise Tax Board is costing the state more than $300 million a year in uncollected taxes. His bill would exempt the tax board and the Board of Equalization, which is fighting the furloughs in court.

The state loses $7 in tax board collections for every $1 it saves by furloughing workers there, the Senate Office of Oversight and Outcomes calculated in a report released Friday.

"All it's doing is keeping our economy down," Steinberg spokesman Nathan Barankin said.

Steinberg's bill also would exempt other agencies that receive at least 95 percent of their budgets from federal money or fees, which are not tied to the general fund.

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