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The Law Backs Schwarzenegger's Pay-Cut Plan

Publication Date: 
July 28, 2008
The San Jose Mercury News
Mike Zapler

William B. Gould IV is quoted in a San Jose Mercury News iarticle about Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's controversial plan to cut state workers' pay to the federal minimum wage level until a budget is reached by the California legislature:

SACRAMENTO - Democratic leaders and labor activists this week declared it would be illegal for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to slash state workers' salaries to the minimum wage until a budget deal is reached.

But a California Supreme Court decision five years ago indicates otherwise. Instead, it is Democratic Controller John Chiang, with the job of issuing paychecks, who would be snubbing the law if he continues to pay state employees as he has promised.

Whether the governor or anyone else can stop Chiang is another matter, but the law seems to leave little room for interpretation.


"It's a relatively clear cut case," Bill Gould, a professor at Stanford Law School and former chairman of the National Labor Relations Board, said Friday. "This we know from the opinion: He (the controller) cannot make any further payments" of workers' salaries, beyond the minimum wage.