As the contentious budget stalemate plods on in Sacramento, with recentannouncements of stop-work orders and tens of thousands of layoffs, localrepresentatives are starting to say they should shoulder some of the burden.

A plan to address the state's $42 billion budget deficit has seeminglystalled in the state Senate after days of marathon sessions left the package onevote shy of passage. Consequently, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger announced thisweek the state would begin the process of laying off 20,000 employees effectiveJuly 1 and would order work stoppages on 276 projects throughout the state in adesperate attempt to slow the state's fiscal bleeding.

With the state already having instituted mandatory work furloughs and paycuts, local representatives state Sen. Patricia Wiggins and Assemblyman WesleyChesbro said this week it would only be fair for legislators to considershouldering some of the burden in a show of sacrifice and solidarity.

Asked if she would consider supporting a pay cut for legislators or theirsacrificing the per diems -- the $170 they are paid by the state for every daythey are in session -- for the duration of the budget stalemate, Wiggins saidthe Legislature has already taken a hit, but that more should be considered.

”It's only proper, and fair, that members of the Legislature considershouldering our share of the burden -- we're making reductions in the Senate'sown budget, for example, but we should consider other options as well,” Wiggins said in a statement released Wednesday.

Chesbro had a similar take.

”I think that would be absolutely fair if everyone else is taking areduction,” Chesbro said of taking a pay cut during an interview Tuesday withEureka's KINS Radio, adding that he would both personally look into the optionand encourage his colleagues to do the same.

According to a list provided by the State Department of Finance, thegovernor's order will halt work on three Humboldt County projects with anestimated value of more than $40 million, meaning less work for localconstruction crews.

A $1.75 million project at Fortuna Elementary School has been stopped, aswell as an almost $16 million project to revamp the interchange between U.S.Highway 101 and State Route 36. But, the largest local project to be shelved was$23.1 million in state funds for a North Coast Integrated Watershed ManagementPlan. One of Humboldt's neighbors to the south, Willits in Mendocino County,also saw the state halt work this week on $1 million in wastewater treatmentplant upgrades.

But the largest worry in the state, that of mass layoffs of state employees,seems to have spared Humboldt County for the most part, at least so far.

The State Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation will take the largestbrunt of the layoffs, according to Lynelle Jolley, a spokeswoman for the StatePersonnel Administration Department, adding that corrections is by far thelargest general fund-dependent department in the state.

Up at Pelican Bay State Prison in Del Norte County, spokesman Lt. Ken Thomassaid it's too early to say how many of the prison's 1,700 employees will beaffected, but said it's unlikely the prison will escape the layoffs unscathed.

Thomas said there are 67,000 employees in the state's corrections department,and that 13,000 -- or just under 20 percent -- of them are expected to receivelayoff notices. If the layoffs are applied proportionally throughout the state'sprisons, that means Pelican Bay Prison could lose almost 350 employees.

”Although we've not received anything from Sacramento identifying anyspecific positions, to think Pelican Bay would go through a process like thatwithout anybody being affected is unlikely,” Thomas said.

Back in Humboldt County, most agencies said it's too early to tell, but thatthey are looking to escape this round of layoffs unscathed.

”We have not heard anything about layoffs yet from the personneladministration -- it has not been passed down to our department,” said Cal Firespokesman Daniel Berlant. “We are in a wait-and-see mode.”

Jolley said two departments that definitely won't be touched by layoffs arethe Department of Motor Vehicles and the California Highway Patrol, both ofwhich are considered revenue-generating agencies and are financiallyself-sufficient.

But Wiggins cautioned that state workers aren't the only ones facing layoffs,and that the governor's decision to shut down 276 infrastructure projects meansthe loss of tens of thousands of construction jobs.

”That's 65,000 good-paying construction jobs in California -- gone,” shesaid. “One vote could turn that around. The governor says that he will lay off20,000 state workers if we do not have a budget. One vote could turn thataround. These are Californians who are out of work as a direct result of us nothaving a state budget.”

Times-Standard staff writers John Driscoll, Sean Garmire, Thadeus Greenson,Donna Tam and Erin Tracy contributed to this report.p