In an attempt
to trim the budget and reduce California's $25 billion deficit, Gov. Jerry Brown issued an executive order on April 26 cutting all state employee travel that is not "mission critical." Travel to events that can be conducted via phone or videoconference, or for networking, continuing-
education classes or professional development, all are considered nonessential.
"Our fiscal challenges demand that we take a much closer look at how taxpayer dollars are being spent within state government," said Brown in a statement. "Now is not the time to attend conferences, travel to meetings or take out-of-state field trips."
These measures are part of the proposed $413 million reduction in state operations, although exactly how much money the government expects to save on nonessential travel remains unspecified.
Many question the wisdom of the measure. "My concern is that in an effort to cut and control spending...elected leaders will make government travel and meetings a casualty of politics," said Charles Sadler, executive director and CEO of the Society of Government Meeting Professionals. "Meetings are an easy target when it comes to budget cuts, and, unfortunately, the importance and impact they have to government operations and local economies is overlooked."