If you live in California, you’ve probably heard that we have a BIG (we’re talking $15 billion dollar) budget deficit. One way that Governator Arnold Schwarzenegger — a Republican — wants to reduce the deficit is to reduce the pay of state employees currently making the state minimum wage of $8.00/hour to the national minimum wage of $6.55/hour, or maybe give all state employees minimum wage until a budget is passed. California’s state controller, Chinese-American Democrat John Chiang, is having none of Schwarzenegger’s nonsense:
“State Controller John Chiang informed the governor’s office in writing today that he would not immediately comply with an administration order to decrease the pay of most state workers to the federal minimum wage of $6.55 per hour until a state budget is enacted. A deputy to Chiang, who controls the state payroll, wrote that carrying out the pay cut order Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed late last month would be a complex process and the controller’s office needs until at least the end of the week to determine if it is possible. Administration officials said they would not wait. They said the governor intends to file a lawsuit by day’s end to force Chiang to make the cuts.”
I read somewhere that the California state payroll system is still running a on a computer system that uses COBOL. COBOL! COBOL is like Latin, except for computers. It’s nice to see that Chiang isn’t being a stereotypical quiet Asian American and putting up a visible fight against the Governator.
John Chiang is the highest elected Asian American state official in both California and in the nation. I believe he has ambitions to eventually run for governor, though maybe not in 2010 – it’s a crowded race for that one already. Hopefully this fight will give Chiang more visibility politically.