Arnold Schwarzenegger (R)

John Chiang (D)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Legal Newsline)-California state workers will receive their full pay at least this month because of when a hearing was scheduled to resolve a legal dispute between the state controller and the governor, who wants to cut state worker pay until a budget is approved.

The judge's move also affects attorneys in the California Department of Justice, who were set to receive no pay until a state budget is signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

In addition to doctors and engineers, lawyers in Attorney General Jerry Brown's office had been told they would receive no pay, while other state workers would be paid the federal minimum wage of $6.55 until a budget is signed.

Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Timothy Frawley on Wednesday set a hearing to consider the Schwarzenegger administration's lawsuit to force state Controller John Chiang to cut pay.

The hearing, set for Sept. 12, is too late to affect workers' August paychecks.

Chiang, who manages the state's payroll, has said he will not follow the Republican governor's executive order that cut pay for about 200,000 state workers until a budget is signed. Afterward, the workers would get back their full pay.

Those who would not be affected by the governor's plan would be the state's 120 legislators, 565 political appointees and 2,164 legislative staff.

By slashing 200,000 non-essential state workers' payroll, California would save up to about $1 billion a month, allowing the state to avert "a looming cash crisis," the governor's office has argued.

The California constitution requires state lawmakers to approve a budget by June 15, in time for the start of the July 1 fiscal year. But typically, the spending proposal becomes marred in ideological differences between Democratic and Republican legislators.

This year, lawmakers are hung up over whether to close a $15.2 billion deficit primarily with spending cuts or tax increases.

The Democratic state controller has called the governor's pay-cut plan a political ploy to pressure lawmakers to pass a state spending plan.

"Forcing public servants to involuntarily loan the state cash by foregoing their hard-earned paychecks puts an untenable burden on our teachers, health care workers and those who provide critical public services. That is just wrong," Chiang said in an earlier statement.

The state controller has said he believes the state has enough cash to pay full salaries through the end of September without a budget agreement.

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo at

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