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California Governor Newsom Didn’t Take Promised Pay Cut After Cutting State Workers’ Pay

California governor Gavin Newsom speaks at a news conference in San Diego, Calif., October 9, 2019. (Mike Blake/Reuters)

California Governor Gavin Newsom has been receiving his full monthly salary, though he pledged to take a pay cut in May in solidarity with state workers who saw a 10 percent cut in pay as a result of budgetary fallout of the coronavirus. 

While elected state officials are exempt from such pay cuts, Newsom promised that he and the rest of the state government’s workforce would take pay cuts.

However, a Thursday report from the Sacramento Bee found that the Democratic governor has continued receiving his monthly salary of $17,479 in full. 

Newsom’s office said the situation was caused by an “administrative error.”

“The Governor publicly committed to taking the same pay cut as other state workers when he introduced his budget in May and has officially asked the Controller to adjust his pay, effective July 1,” a spokesperson said.  “The reductions for both July and August will be deduced for the next pay period.”

State controller Betty Yee was the only one of the state’s eight elected constitutional officers to take a cut in pay last month, according to data from the state controller’s office reported by the Bee.

Newsom pressed other elected state officers to take pay cuts on Wednesday, leading treasurer Fiona Ma, Lt. governor Eleni Kounalakis, superintendent of public instruction Tony Thurmond, attorney general Xavier Becerra and insurance commissioner Ricardo Lara to request reductions, according to the Controller’s Office.

The revelation is only one in a recent series of stumbles by the governor since the coronavirus pandemic began. Though California was initially praised for its early handling of the virus in March, during which time it had seemingly avoided the worst, cases of the virus later spiked, leading the state to reverse its reopening policies.

The governor’s failure to contain the resurgence of cases was blamed on a data error that caused a backlog of nearly 300,000 virus test results.

“The buck stops with me, I’m accountable,” he said at a tense news conference, his first appearance since state officials revealed the error. “No one’s trying to hide that, no one’s trying to mask that, we’re owning that, we’re moving forward to address those issues.”

Newsom also came under fire recently after Sacramento’s KOVR discovered that PlumpJack, a Northern California-based winery and hospitality company of which Newsom is the founder and partial owner, was open through early July – months after the governor had ordered all non-essential business closed in March. The company was also found to have received a loan of $150,000 ro $350,000 from the Paycheck Protection Program, according to data released by the U.S. Treasury Department. 

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