Californians can get $3,000 grants to retrofit homes for earthquake safety, building a new school in earthquake-stricken Guatemala, or build a solar panel energy storage system that could power the state.
These were the offers on offer at a Friday morning meeting of the Legislature’s Committee on Finance, part of the week’s session.
There was the plan for a $50 billion deficit in the near future that would require some painful cuts to services, programs and even the state’s workforce.
There was the chance for the Legislature to make some major changes to the state’s workers’ compensation system without having to worry about how to pay for them.
“The only way to control debt is to control spending,” said Rep. John Laird, D-Pacoima, the chairman of the Committee on Finance.
Then there was the bill that would raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, although that move is not likely to pass, given the political landscape and the fact that some Democrats oppose it.
Then there were the $5,000 and $30,000 grant awards and the $2,500 state employee performance grant that could go to any employee — including state employees.
“We are not going to take money away from the people who are working as much as they can to make ends meet,” Laird said.
That was the message delivered by Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, on Thursday when he proposed a program that would offer $2,500 grants to state employees who demonstrate financial responsibility.
“Most people working for us are the good-paying and the well-deserving ones,” Wiener said in explaining the program. “There are probably some people out there who should be getting more than $2,500.”
The program, which is the result of a committee study and would cover all state employees, would have an application and a selection process that would involve managers, employees and union leadership.
The idea is that the $2,500 grants — the equivalent of the state employee performance grant — could be awarded to those