A day after releasing a state budget Gov. Jerry Brown said would be painful, he has administered his first sting. The target: cellphones.
Brown issued his first executive order as governor, ordering the cellphones of 48,000 state workers be confiscated by June 1. That's half of all the state's cellphones. He says eliminating those bills will save state taxpayers $20 million a year.
In a written statement, Brown said, "It is difficult for me to believe that 40 percent of all state employees must be equipped with taxpayer funded cell phones."
That won't fix the budget by any means, but it sends at least two messages.
First, it shows the governor will examine even small expenditures to try to save a few bucks. It also shows the governor may look at cellphones differently than just about anyone under the age of 40. The governor sees them as expendable, or least an item only needed by a small minority of state workers.
But the Generation Y and younger set see them as the primary means of communication.
It is estmated 91 percent of Americans have a cellphone, while 1 in 4 has completely ditched any landline phone in favor of a cell-only lifestyle. What Brown sees as fat, may very well be seen as the tissue that connects us all.
And Brown says he's not done.
"Even with a 50 percent reduction, one-fifth of all state employees will still have cell phones. That still seems like too much."
We're sure workers will have a nice landline phone on their desks, if they remember how to use it. This also means the last text messages some state workers may get to send could be to the governor: OMG, R U kidding?