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Furloughs Return, Capitol-Area Businesses Frustrated

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(Sacramento, CA)
Friday, August 20, 2010
State workers furloughed three Fridays a month face a roughly 14 percent pay cut. But Kim Anderson says her bottom line's been slashed by much more:

"It was affected on Fridays was probably 35% slower than our normal Fridays."

Anderson is part owner of Ambrosia café - a popular lunch spot for the Capitol crowd:

 "It just cut into the general sales because 50-60-% of our business is state workers and so they were cutting their budgets back so we just got less state workers in here just in general."
At Temple coffee shop a few blocks from the Capitol business has also slowed, especially on furlough Fridays. Manager Shannon Babka says sales are down 15 to 20 percent
"You get used to seeing the same faces every day and all of a sudden a big chunk of people are cut out due to furloughs." 
The first round of furloughs lasted longer than a year and a half - and wrapped up at the end of June. But Governor Schwarzenegger ordered a new round, citing concerns about a looming state cash crunch. After a couple of court decisions put the unpaid days off on hold, the State Supreme Court agreed to take the case - and allowed furloughs to continue in the meantime.
Ryan Seng tends bar at the Grange Restaurant in downtown Sacramento. As someone who relies heavily on tips, he says the return of furloughs will have a big impact on him, too:
"On Fridays it would affect me because I wouldn't make any money at happy hour, a lot of times I wouldn't close the bar on Friday night, I would do  the earlier  shift. I would make a lot of my money during happy hour and when there is nobody there it would really cut into my income."
And for Terry O'Reilly -- owner of a cookie shop popular with state workers called Goodie Tuchews - the only answer is to close up shop three Fridays a month:
"I won't stay open. It's too frustrating to be open."
Governor Schwarzenegger's spokesman, Aaron McLear, says the administration doesn't like ordering furloughs, but says they save the state 150 million dollars a month:

"And as long as the legislature fails to produce a budget and the state's facing IOU's, the furloughs are necessary to save cash."
It's not clear how long the current set of furloughs will continue. The Governor has said he'll keep them in effect until a state budget deal is reached. So far, there's no agreement in sight. SOC
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