“As bad as the economy is, a cut to our pay does not help the economy,” said Bob Goon, an air quality inspector at Valley Air’s Bakersfield office.
The state has increased the number of permit holders by lowering the threshold for which someone has to get a permit, Goon said. That means Valley Air’s revenue has increased, and so has the workload for permit writers and inspectors.
Despite that, the air district is demanding takeaways from its workers.
For John Roach, whose paycheck barely supports his wife and toddler, the cuts would be too much. “They’re basically asking my kid to starve,” he said. “Any cuts will kill me.”