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The power of the paycheck

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Speculation that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is using his leverage to threaten or punish legislators with paycuts grew a little stronger today when the governor-appointed Citizens Compensation Commission scheduled its annual meeting for June 16.

The commission dramatically cut lawmakers' pay last year, immediately after Schwarzenegger filled a couple vacancies with folks who favored that idea. This year, some lawmakers accused Schwarzenegger of covertly threatening another paycut if they did not confirm his nominee for lieutenant governor, Abel Maldonado.

And now the commission has scheduled its meeting for June 16 -- the after the seldom-met constiutional deadline of June 15 for the Legislature to pass a budget. The commission has to act by July 1 so that its legislator-pay decision can be factored in by the beginning of the fiscal year on that date.

Now, lawmakers have got to be thinking that if there is no budget by June 15 they will be facing another paycut the following day. The same commission, by the way, also sets the governor's pay -- something that is of no concern to this multimillionaire governor, who accepts no salary for his state job.

What a system. President Obama must look upon it with great envy. Wouldn't he love to be in a position to appoint people who punish members of Congress by taking money out of their wallets whenever they didn't do as he pleased?

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95 percent accurate
Over the last 25 presidential elections, Ventura County voters have backed the winner 24 times, or over 95 percent of the time. It is one of only a handful of counties in the nation that has been such a predictable bellwether.
about Timm Herdt
Timm Herdt
The Ventura County Star's Sacramento Bureau Chief Timm Herdt on state issues and politics from Sacramento to Ventura County. He can be contacted at therdt@vcstar.com