California Cutting Off 48K State Workers' Cell Phones
About 40% of employees currently have them
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 11, 2011 7:01 PM CST
Gov. Jerry Brown discusses his plan to deal with an estimated $25.4 billion state budget deficit on Monday.   (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

(Newser) – Here's one more reason California finds itself with a $25 billion budget deficit—it was handing out cell phones to state employees like candy. Nearly 100,000 state workers—about 40% of the workforce—have phones on the taxpayers' dime. New Gov. Jerry Brown is ordering that half of them be turned in, for an estimated savings of about $20 million a year, reports the Los Angeles Times.

“It is difficult for me to believe that 40% of all state employees must be equipped with taxpayer-funded cellphones,” said the governor. “Some state employees, including department and agency executives who are required to be in touch 24 hours a day and seven days a week, may need cellphones, but the current number of phones out there is astounding.”