In response to decreased state revenue and increased costs associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Finance issued a Budget Letter on April 30, 2020 calling for current fiscal year expenditure reductions. Effective immediately, the Budget Letter requires state agencies and departments to take the following actions:
- Leave Buy-Back — Cancellation of the annual leave buy back of accumulated vacation or annual leave in 2019-20
- New Goods and Services Contracts — Bans purchases or service contracts unless they directly support teleworking strategies or respond to COVID-19 (including PPE and hand sanitizer), or meet other time-sensitive critical needs
- Travel — Continues the non-essential travel ban for in state and out-of-state travel
- Hiring — Advises departments to use discretion when filling vacancies to maintain flexibility in an environment of severely constrained resources
We know many ACSS members count on leave-cash out to reduce leave balances below the cap and provide additional income. While it is extremely disappointing the program will not be offered this year, especially for those working long hours responding to the pandemic, the Administration has complete discretion in authorizing the program on an annual basis.
In mid-May, the Governor will unveil his “May Revise” to the proposed state budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2020. While the Governor has already indicated the revision to the budget will not match the blueprint he laid out in January, it will be the first glimpse at how the Governor intends to address declining state revenues and unanticipated costs.
With state tax filings and revenues delayed through July 15, significant financial uncertainty will remain. Even though a state budget will be adopted prior to the July 1 start of the fiscal year, the Governor and Legislature are likely to continue state budget deliberations and actions beyond this date.
Through all of these state budget deliberations, ACSS will continue to advocate for equitable salaries and benefits for excluded employees with CalHR and to lobby the Legislature to protect your employment interests.