After his election the President called for Americans to support a “new spirit of sacrifice.” Not everyone is heeding the call.
In a victory for its labor union friends, the Obama administration has ruled that budget-strapped California cannot cut the wages of in-home care givers since it is accepting federal stimulus funds.
The stimulus money is intended to prevent such cuts, President Barack Obama has said.
This week’s ruling — from Obama’s Health and Human Services Department — involves the 250,000 workers who belong to the Service Employees International Union.
The Federal strings on stimulus money are long and sticky:
The ruling came after the Service Employees International Union and its California affiliates requested an opinion on whether California’s proposed wage cuts for IHSS workers violate the “maintenance of effort clause” in Obama’s stimulus program.
“Maintenance of effort” is a federal requirement that says grant recipients must maintain a certain level of state and local spending to be eligible for full participation in federal grant funding.
The California Legislature – now grappling with a multi-billion budget deficit — voted for a 20-percent reduction in the state’s contribution to homecare workers’ wages as part of the state’s budget package.
California is between a rock and a hard place. California could be broke by July, state official warns.
California could run out of money as soon as July, the Legislature’s chief budget analyst warned Thursday, as a new poll showed voters poised to reject five budget-related measures on the May 19 ballot.
If the propositions do not pass, the state could find itself as much as $23 billion short of the money it needs to pay its bills over the next year, according to a new forecast by Legislative Analyst Mac Taylor. The poll, from the Public Policy Institute of California, found that even as voter interest in the ballot measures rises, all are trailing except the sixth one — Proposition 1F, which would bar pay hikes for lawmakers in deficit years.
What’s the problem voters have with the propositions?
The unpopularity of the ballot measures appears to reflect intense voter distrust of Sacramento. Just 16% of likely voters say they trust the state government to do the right thing. Schwarzenegger’s approval rating remains at a near-historic low, 34%. The state Legislature’s, meanwhile, stands at an anemic 12%.
“The voters seem interested in delivering a message,” said Mark Baldassare, Public Policy Institute of California president and survey director. “The measures are very complex and confusing to voters — and they don’t seem to have trust in what the governor and Legislature have put before them.”
…The only measure that voters back widely would do little to help the state budget — but it would send a clear message to Sacramento. The poll found that 73% plan to vote for Proposition 1F, which would freeze the salaries of lawmakers in deficit years.