By Kevin Yamamura
kyamamura@sacbee.com
Published: Thursday, Nov. 3, 2011 – 12:00 am | Page 3A

Controller John Chiang, who manages the state’s cash, may be best known for blocking legislative paychecks this summer and rejecting former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s attempt to pay minimum wage to state workers three years ago.

Chiang, in his second and final term as controller, told The Bee Capitol Bureau on Wednesday he now plans “in all likelihood” to run for state treasurer in 2014.

He recently reported California is $705.5 million, or 3.6 percent, behind expectations for the first quarter of the fiscal year. But he would not say Wednesday whether he thinks the state will impose automatic “trigger” cuts to social services and education that are supposed to occur if the state falls short of revenue.

Here are excerpts from his conversation with The Bee:

Knowing the cash situation, knowing the uncertainty in Europe, why isn’t it obvious we’re going to need to trim the budget we just passed?

The major development of this last budget cycle is the fact they did put a trigger in place. … As I share with a few legislators when I talk to them today, I say if you don’t like the fact that we may have triggers, then you better offer an alternative, and you should offer that alternative pretty quickly.

Have any legislators or their associates filed suit against you for blocking legislative pay under Proposition 25?

I’m not aware of it. And I know the legislative staffers, some of them, actually said they appreciated it.

Are you going to run for governor?

I enjoy what I do, and when I start working on it, I will run for treasurer in all likelihood.

You made a pretty big splash this year disclosing all the salaries at cities, counties, special districts, fire districts. Did you see any trends that troubled you?

Clearly, I think we need to capture the outliers earlier, sooner. I think the process that’s been established is you have a lot of the individuals attuned to what’s taking place in their municipality, who you would elevate their attention to those particular matters. And obviously it’s a changing economy, so the elected officials and leaders are going to have to be responsive to what monies are available.

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