SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and California's top payroll official are headed for a court fight over the governor's attempt to cut the pay of about 175,000 state employees until lawmakers approve a budget.
A lawsuit against state Controller John Chiang was filed Monday in Sacramento County Superior Court. The suit says the state Constitution and several sections of law prohibit the state from paying full wages without approval of a budget.
The controller, a Democrat whose office is responsible for paying state employees, has balked at carrying out the Republican governor's July 31 executive order cutting employees' pay until a budget for the fiscal year that began July 1 is approved. Lawmakers are divided over how to close a $15.2 billion deficit.
Schwarzenegger directed that the pay of nearly 140,000 rank-and-file employees be cut to the federal minimum wage of $6.55 an hour. About 30,000 management employees would be paid $455 a week, and another 8,000 workers, mostly doctors and attorneys, would get nothing. All those workers would get the remainder of their normal paychecks after the budget is approved.