Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has ordered about 200,000 state workers to be paid the federal minimum wage because the state Legislature has not passed a budget.
Department of Personnel Administration Director Debbie Endsley sent the order Thursday in a letter to the state controller. Most state employees will be paid the federal minimum of $7.25 per hour for the July pay period.
Schwarzenegger spokesman Aaron McLear says the change should be reflected in state employees' next paycheck. Workers will be paid in full retroactively once a budget is passed.
The Legislature has failed to take steps to close California's $19 billion budget deficit, even as the new fiscal year began Thursday.
The instructions from the Department of Personnel Administration exclude roughly 37,000 state workers in six bargaining units that recently came to tentative labor agreements with Schwarzenegger, The Sacramento Bee newspaper reported.
Controller John Chiang said earlier Thursday that he wouldn't comply with the minimum wage order, KCRA-TV said.
California Assembly Speaker John Perez, D-Los Angeles, expressed his disdain late Thursday in a statement, saying that that he's disappointed in the governor's actions.
"This is not a realistic proposal to save the state cash any more than his budget plan, which kills 430,000 jobs, is a realistic proposal to close our deficit. Using working families as leverage is not the kind of leadership we need to get through this budget process," Perez said.