Meg Whitman                Steve Poizner

PoliticsBlog

Posted By: Michael Collier | July 16 2010 at 02:47 PM

GOP gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman, who repeatedly slammed Republican rival Steve Poizner because he “refused to furlough a single bureaucrat” during the budget crisis, has now told a TV station she doesn’t support furloughs.

Whitman made the comments on KGET in Bakersfield yesterday, where she was asked about her stance on furloughing state employees.

Anchor: “What about the dispute over paying state employees minimum wage until the budget is passed? That’s the governor’s stance — where do you come down on that one?”

Meg: “Well, I am not in support of the furloughs, I’m not in support of paying government workers minimum wage. What we need to do is right-size the government of the state of California. We have to have the right number of workers. Frankly, we are overstaffed.”

Thousands of state employees were subject to a furlough order in the last fiscal year, a cost-cutting measure that effectively cut their paychecks by 15 percent — one ordered by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in response to the budget crisis. But Whitman’s opposition to furloughs now may come as a surprise to Poizner, the state Insurance Commissioner, who took heat in mailers and from Whitman’s camp for not furloughing workers at the state Dept. of Insurance.

Whitman’s spokesman Tucker Bounds told Hogue News before the June primary that “Commissioner Poizner is the only candidate in the race who has supported $40 billion in higher taxes, and opposed cost-saving furloughs and misrepresented his record of spending in Sacramento.”

So is Whitman’s stated opposition today to what her campaign had repeatedly called “cost-saving” furloughs a switch?

Sarah Pompei, spokeswoman for Whitman, said the candidate has been consistant in her opposition to furloughs.

“That’s been her position. She believes she has a better plan to reduce the size and cost of government by bringing the number of state employees back to ’04-’05 levels, which is the last time we had similiar revenues,” she said. “Which is a real reduction in the cost of the state government.

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