Going without a paycheck for weeks – or months -during the summer is something Alicia Trost is used to.
“Unfortunately as time as shown, budgets are often not on time and it’s just part of the territory of signing up to work in the building.”
Trost works for Democratic Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg. She’s part of a sizable group that doesn’t get paid when there’s a budget impasse. It includes California’s elected officials and their appointees. Typically many of those staffers get zero interest loans from their banks to fill the gap. But this year, Bank of America isn’t providing that option – and a few other big banks haven’t committed to it, either. Trost’s bank hadn’t weighed in – so she quickly joined a participating credit union:
“It was an absolute panic. You start to then panic about – well, I have bills that are paid automatically withdrawal from my bank account – I now have to figure that out. Mortgage is due at the beginning of the month, what account is that going to come from?”
Bank of American Spokeswoman Colleen Haggerty says the economic environment is different today than it was in 2008, the last time the bank offered paycheck advances. Last year’s state budget was early, so there was no need for them. Haggerty says Bank of America is offering other types of assistance, such as emergency credit line increases, waived fees and payment assistance.
There’s every indication that the budget impasse could last for months this year.
Civil service state workers – by far the majority - may also face a separate paycheck problem. Governor Schwarzenegger believes they should be paid the federal minimum wage during any budget impasse. The State Controller disagrees and the two are still fighting the issue in court.