Furlough Friday frustrates Californians

August 20, 2010 5:27:00 PM PDT
All across California, people were either driving up or walking up to DMV offices only to find them closed. The governor's office says the new furloughs, which are affecting about 144,000 workers, will save the state about $137 million a month.

The State Supreme Court ruled just Wednesday that 'furlough Fridays' can continue, which didn't give the state much time to get the word out.

"I'm not very happy. I'm trying to get my handicapped plates," DMV customer Jim White said.

Most people took the day off to take care of business.

"I brought two books, I was ready, I was prepared to wait. Now, I have to go home, be like, OK, I still don't have my driver's license, still don't have a vehicle registration," DMV customer Christine King said.

"My driver's license expires in two weeks, and I will be out of town until then. So today was my only chance to do it before it actually expires," DMV customer Eugene Reshetov said.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger ordered another round of furloughs because a state budget still hasn't been approved. It's now day 51 into the new fiscal year.

As frustrating as furloughs are for Californians, the rollercoaster of on-again, off-again unpaid days is worse for state workers like DMV employee Nickia Cordoba. The single mother of five, including an infant, is seeing her bills pile up.

Like most state workers, she got her first full paycheck last month because the furloughs were supposed to end in June. Then the budget impasse happened, so the $32,000-a-year technician will receive $450 less this month.

"Now I have four kids starting school this year, and I can't afford to buy clothes for them because the money I thought I was going to have is now being taken away again," she said.

The furloughs are supposed to stop once a state budget is approved and it is unknown when that will take place. Negotiations have been slow and little progress has been made, so paycuts could also be imposed soon.


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