-By Warner Todd Huston
California has been ground zero in the war between over paid state employees unions and government budgetary concerns and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has leveled yet another salvo in that battle by again ordering more furloughs for state workers.
After ending the previous program to furlough 200,000 state workers the Governor has introduced a scaled back plan after the state controller reported that state accounts would be in the red by October.
Unlike the last time, Schwarzenegger's newest attempt is open ended and will end "when lawmakers pass a 2010-11 budget." There are other differences in this scaled back plan including thousands of new employee exemptions.
No word yet if the unions will launch another wave of lawsuits over this newest furlough plan. But if past performance is any indication they will.
This furlough idea is one of the quickest means to lower the budget for a state and many other states have followed the practice. But if union attacks against the idea are successful, that avenue for cutting the budget if only temporarily will be lost to lawmakers struggling to end the overspending.
Unions are a chief impediment to solving the various state's budget crisis. This is another case that will have to be watched carefully.