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State Furloughs Rattle Public, Workers And Businesses

Black Voice News, News Report, Chris Levister Posted: Feb 12, 2009

One by one, drivers pulled into the parking lot of the San Bernardino Department of Motor Vehicles, momentarily stymied by the empty parking spaces. Still they braved the cold drizzle toward the door only to be met with one dispiriting word: Closed People looking to renew drivers licenses, take tests for state jobs, file claims or seek many other services found themselves out of luck Friday. They just kept coming more than a hundred by 10:00 a.m., said security officer Mike Dunn. Some were furious. Others were sad, even tearful. DMV clerk Paula Diaz peered inside the locked doors with graceful resignation, trying to hide her worries.

At the end of a week that brought nothing but grim economic news, thats how many state workers, the public and surrounding businesses greeted the states first furlough day Friday.

Sweet Jesus, help us, signed Diaz. I have two children to feed. I cant afford to take a day off without pay.

Jodie Reese took the day off to take a commercial driving test for a state job.

Im a single parent. I cant afford this madness.

Allison Evans a waitress at a nearby fast food restaurant fumed at the loss of business.

Friday is our best day. People line up outside the DMV. Many of those folks come over for lunch. This is costing us business.

Its just a big pain for everyone, said student Victor Davies. Davies said he had a long standing appointment to take a road test and did not learn of the closing until he drove into the parking

I should be in class instead Im facing locked doors.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger ordered the unpaid days which were upheld last month by a L.A. County judge to be taken until June 2011.

For most workers the furlough means a 9 percent pay cut, the day off will be the first and third Fridays of each month.

About 15,000 employees who work for elected officials and law enforcement were exempted.

Its very frustrating not being able to serve these people, said Diaz. Many of them are losing their jobs and homes these closings just add to their misery.

California appears to be the only state that has imposed furlough of state workers. Four other states are considering similar actions.

The forced work stoppages will hardly win votes for the governor or the Legislature, which delivered the most tardy budget in the states history, one that immediately had to be retooled in the face of mounting deficits and falling revenues.

Related Articles:

Bilingual Skills Key to Surviving the Recession

State Cuts Could Add to Unemployment

Who Asked Us: Gov.'s Plan to Cut California School Days is Dangerous

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