Impact of budget on the California State Library

A message from the State Librarian:

It has been a long summer in Sacramento. I am writing this on Tuesday, September 23; and the Governor has just signed the 2008/09 budget.

Although we had a real scare when the California Library Literacy Services (CLLS) funds were threatened in the midst of the budget wrangling, the California State Library (CSL) seems to have fared reasonably well. State operations – the general funds that support the services of the CSL – were reduced by 10% but that is a loss that we had been expecting since budget work began in early 2008. We can cope with the 10% loss for 2008/09 but we will really be challenged if we have to bear another such loss in 2009/10.

The local assistance funds, which include the Public Library Fund, the Direct Loan, Inter-library Loan and Cooperative System support, and CLLS, are each reduced by 10%. Although the Legislative Conference Committee budget had modified the local assistance reduction to 5%, the Governor reinstated the 10% reduction for local assistance at the final signing of the budget. Again, we can live with the 10% for 2008/09, but if those reductions continue year after year it will be very challenging to continue to support these programs.

When the Governor signed the Executive Order that relegated state workers’ salaries to the federal minimum wage, all students, who worked through a contract, and all retired annuitants (retired state workers who have returned on a part-time basis), were terminated. For the CSL, a small department with about 200 full-time employees, this was a blow. We lost 15 retired annuitants and 15 students; and we are not sure if we can bring them back. The retired annuitants may be available (if they have not made vacation plans!) but the students are back to school and most probably in other positions. The elimination of this part-time, flexible staff is hard for all of us at the CSL.

We are very glad that we can begin to get back to business for 2008/09 but in the midst of all this, without even being sure of the 2008/09 budget, departments had to submit budget change proposals (requests for additional funding) for 2009/10 on September 19th. It seems as if the budget schedule is a bit off when you have to submit requests for a future fiscal year before the current one is settled! Maybe we will see some reform in our lifetime. I hope so! Now onto 2009/10.

 

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