Baseball. Hot Dogs. And Another Calif. Budget Impasse

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This state's credit unions are once again preparing to assist state employees affected by another budget impasse.

California's constitution says a new state budget must be adopted by June 15, more than two weeks ahead of the end of the fiscal year, June 30. The state legislature has missed that deadline 18 times in the last 22 years, and yet another partisan-politics-fueled budget impasse is underway. Because this political wrangling has reached the point where it is expected each July-last year, California's budget was a record 76 days late-credit unions that serve state workers already have plans in place.

"We're done preparing, we're ready," observed Teresa Halleck, president and CEO of The Golden 1 Credit Union.

Membership in the $4.6-billion credit union is available to anyone who lives or works in the state capital, and Halleck said its 500,000 members include many state workers. She said The Golden 1 will offer 0% loans to all members with direct deposit or payroll deductions if they are effected by the budget delay.

"We have had ads in the local papers for two months, encouraging members to sign up for direct deposit and reminding them we have a 70-year history of being there for our members," said Halleck. "It's unfortunate state workers might be affected by this."

The first paycheck state workers could miss if a new budget is not approved in the next few days would be July 15, she explained.

San Bernardino-based Arrowhead Credit Union has had a program to help cash-strapped state employees for nine consecutive years, reported Elsa Montes, the CU's vice president of membership services.

Under Arrowhead's PayDay Program, members with direct deposit will receive credit for 100% of their paycheck amount each time a check is missed due to the impasse. The advance is payable when the state legislature passes the budget.

In addition, Arrowhead offers loan extensions, which allow members to delay payments on loans in one-month increments as long as the impasse continues. "We already faxed or e-mailed our offers to all state offices and agencies in our marketing area, which includes San Bernardino and Riverside Counties," said Montes. "Next, we will send information to all members who are coded as state employees."

Montes said about 15,000 to 20,000 of Arrowhead's 130,000 members are state employees. She said non-members who are employed by California can join the CU and quickly take advantage of the programs to aid state workers.

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