California's governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, plans to lay off 22,000 state workers and cut the wages of 230,000 people in the hope of reducing the state's budget deficit.
One of America's biggest states, California, is facing a budget deficit of more than $15bn.
Mr Schwarzenegger apologised to state workers, but said he had no choice.
Californians have been emailing the BBC News website with their thoughts on the governor's plans:
STATE WORKERS CRITICAL OF THE GOVERNOR'S DECISION
I work for the Department of Motor Vehicles in Seaside, California. As of 2pm today I was informed that my hours, which had been 40hrs, plus over time, has been cut to 4 hours per day. I am classified as a PI employee, which means I am not considered full-time and am expendable. Personally, I'm not surprised it has come to this. Our country is shelling out trillions of dollars each year on a war it cannot afford. Something has to give.
Lisa Johnson, Santa Cruz
I work as a seasonal employee at Clear Lake State Park, my season is almost up and school is getting ready to start, so I'm ok with being laid off early, but not ok with receiving $6.55 an hour. I can get a job at a fast food place for $8.00 an hour, but the government needs to do something about the budget.
Ryan, Kelseyville, Lake
Yes. I am definitely concerned about the governor's decision because I am a homeowner with a family to support. I now have to worry about possibly losing my home because of this pay cut. Being a state employee, my salary is already less than what I would make in the private industry. I am not sure he's really aware of much financial hardship this will cause thousands of state employees.
Michelle Reyes, Sacramento
I am very concerned. It seems like more grandstanding by a governor who hopes to make the leap to the national stage soon. I was glad to see the controller stand up to him. Given his personal wealth, the governor can't feel the day to day stresses all middle income and lower income families are feeling. I am a primary school teacher in a "low-wealth" school district and we see the effects everyday on the children.
Michele Gross, Santa Cruz
I'm a state worker and I'm not concerned yet, but I'm getting madder by the minute the longer this goes on. This is a gimmick that won't solve anything, it will just make a lot of people mad, and it will slow the economy even further cause people will just quit buying things until they get paychecks again. Instead, temporarily suspend all pay to every member of the state legislature until a budget is passed. I think that would motivate them to do it quickly.
Charles, Los Angeles
Out of the past 30 years, only 10 budgets have been signed on time. Something needs to be done. Maybe jail time for legislators that don't sign on time? I'm a State worker whose pay will be cut by 1/5, and my daughter and her husband are both State workers whose jobs have been terminated because of Schwarzenegger's Executive Order. One is a permanent Intermittent employee, the other a student assistant.
James T. Earl, Elk Grove, Sacramento
SUPPORTERS OF THE GOVERNOR'S PLANS
The idea that you can spend to the last penny and not pass a budget for the state is insane. No one who is receiving state funds wants their budget cut, not health care, schools, parks, infrastructure, police, or any other government workers. But you cannot look to the state for money that is not there. If we allow things to go to the last penny how are we going to pay the firefighters, lifeguards, and police? California needs to wake up!
Meredith, Lakewood, Los Angeles
As a former employee of the State of California in the education system, I hope these layoffs do not negatively affect the programmes that are supposed to be educating our children and young adults. But a budget is a budget, and it will be better for the economy in the long run if the State has no deficit.
Ian Alan Elliott, Virginia, formerly of Los Angeles
As a small business owner I welcome the governor's actions. Not only will it help reduce the deficit, hopefully less state workers will result in less obstruction of the business community that has made California the 6th largest economy in the world. If things don't change within 12 years Texas will overtake us as the largest state economy in the union.
Jeff Martinez, Rancho Mirage, Riverside
I am not a state employee, and I am a democrat, but I support the governor's move to cut costs. California, like the US government has to eliminate its deficit and debt. Anything that moves in that direction is good. Most politicians are unable to take this kind of necessary action.
Jeff Hawkins, Atherton, San Mateo
A lot of people will criticize the governor for cutting the wages and laying of workers, but they have to realize that it's necessary so our state does not go over. If CA's economy goes under, the entire country will be affected. There is a lot of pressure riding on the governor's shoulders, and he's doing the best he can.
B. Darby, Pasadena, Los Angeles
The governor is doing the right thing. It takes a lot of guts to say no to government parasites. Most of these people who are being laid off didn't even bother to vote for the party that put their program or job in place. Just wake up when you lose your job. Wake up for the first time.
John Perry, Palo Alto, Santa Clara