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Arcadia Assemblyman's Bill to Freeze State Employee Pay Fails Again

The bill, which would have blocked pay raises for any government workers making over $100,000, failed for the seventh time.

A to the state Assembly that would have blocked pay raises for any state workers making over $100,000 died in committee, making it the seventh time the bill has failed.

Assemblyman Anthony Portantino, D-La Canada Flintridge, said that his own party's leadership was to blame for the bill's death.

"It didn't die for partisan reasons," Portantino said. "It was the Democratically controlled appropriates committee that did it."

The bill, AB 7, would have frozen state employee frozen starting in 2014, and there would be a 24-month freeze on employee bonuses. 

The bill would have saved millions of dollars, which would be a drop in the bucket for a state facing a $14 billion budget shortfall, which Portantino's office gave as the opposition's reasoning for not taking it seriously. 

Portantino said he still believes it is important for those at the top to take their share of the budget cuts.  He said the bill would have sent a good message while making at least some contribution towards helping easing future budget deficit issues.

He said that the bill's opponents were lobbied by organizations with some of the higher paid state employees.

"CalPERs money managers who want their bonuses and Cal State people who want raises have lobbied the leadership and unfortunately leadership is listening to people who don't have the best interest of the state in mind," Portantino said.

The bill specifically singled out the California State University system as having too many high-paid employees.

CSU officials continue to argue, as they had when opposing the prior bills, that the high salaries are necessary to keep talented administrators at the school system.

The bill died in the Assembly's Appropriations Committee as it has in past years.

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