For the duration of the furlough craziness, I’ve had a particular definition of “Stupid.” (Capitalized, that is.) Specifically, the furloughing of workers paid entirely by federal dollars that ends up losing the state money.
Here’s how it works in one example. State worker A reviews disability claims. Worker A is a state employee, but his or her salary is paid by the federal government. Arnold, concerned as he is for simplicity over touchy issues like “facts” furloughs Worker A despite the fact that the state saves no money. Further, the work that Worker A would have done would have pulled down federal dollars into the state, but instead they go unspent. See…Stupid.
Now, Speaker Pelosi weighs in on all that Stupid:
While California must make tough choices as it works to close its budget deficit, furloughing workers whose salaries are fully-funded through the federal government results in the loss of millions of dollars for our state while harming our neediest citizens.
The Social Security Administration’s Inspector General has found that furloughs of Disability Determination Services workers would cost our state $30.6 million in lost federal funds while delaying $98.5 million per year in disability payments to disabled Californians. California is also dead last among all 50 states when it comes to paying unemployment insurance claims within 21 days, according to the Department of Labor.
The California Congressional Delegation and I met earlier this year with Governor Schwarzenegger and state legislative leaders to ensure that California will continue to receive the federal funds it needs. Enacting this bill, which passed the Legislature with large, bipartisan majorities, is one simple way to strengthen California. I hope the Governor will sign this bill and end all furloughs for workers funded by the federal government.
So, to summarize…state saves $0 Dollars. State loses $30.6 million. How is this helping the state? Now, the Legislature has approved a bill to end these furloughs. Of course, if Arnold had just not pushed for them in the first place, we wouldn’t be in this position. Nonetheless, here we are. Arnold, sign the damn bill, and at least eliminate this one, small bit of Stupid.