Davis Orders Job Cuts, Hiring Freeze as Part of Effort To Pass Budget
As part of an effort to eliminate the state budget deficit, Gov. Gray Davis (D) yesterday issued two executive orders to eliminate all unfilled state positions and extend a freeze on hiring new state employees for two years, but the hiring freeze would not apply to most public health workers, the Sacramento Bee reports (Bluth/Hill, Sacramento Bee, 7/2). The Legislature failed to pass a state budget before the July 1 deadline imposed by the state Constitution; the state faces a $38.2 billion budget deficit and is currently operating entirely on borrowed money (California Healthline, 7/1). Under the first order, the state will eliminate 20,000 vacant state jobs, reducing state expenditures by an estimated $250 million. The second order would extend for at least two years a hiring freeze Davis implemented in October 2001. According to Davis, the hiring freeze would reduce state expenditures by an estimated $300 million (Bluth/Hill, Sacramento Bee, 7/2). The hiring freeze does not apply to public health personnel who are involved in direct care for patients in prisons, special schools, hospitals or health care facilities (Office of the Governor release, 7/1). In addition, Davis administration officials currently are attempting to convince state workers' unions to accept salary or benefit reductions or face layoffs to reduce expenditures by an additional $855 million. The Personnel Department has issued letters to 9,000 state employees warning that they may lose their jobs, but Davis said yesterday's executive orders could stem some of those cuts (Sacramento Bee, 7/2).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.