Jerry Brown and Meg Whitman pledge if elected to cut the state\u2019s budget, putting much of the blame for the ongoing budget deficit at the feet of state agencies. Whitman vows to eliminate 40,000 employees and whole offices. When Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger made similar promises--to reorganize energy agencies under his administration\u2019s control--legislative efforts fizzled. That may happen with Whitman\u2019s plan. Brown promises belt tightening too. The extent of budget reductions for energy agencies collides with goals that both Whitman and Brown are setting that require more government agency development work and oversight. Energy agencies are set to oversee the effectiveness of major efforts, and more so if Proposition 23, which would gut the state\u2019s climate protection law, AB 32, is defeated. Those include: -An entire new carbon trading market to make reducing greenhouse gases profitable (see story page 10); -Roll out of electric cars with the necessary new grid infrastructure; -Investor-owned utilities striving for their energy efficiency targets; -Demand-response to lessen reliance on fossil-fueled peaking units; -The licensing and siting of new power plants and transmission lines; and -Renewable energy credits--whatever level is allowed to count towards a renewable mandate that must be verifiable and enforceable. Already, the California Air Resources Board and most of the staff at the California Energy Commission have been impacted by mandated furloughs, which equal about a 15 percent salary reduction. It\u2019s difficult to see how they can effectively oversee all these new efforts to increase renewable energy supplies and cut carbon emissions with additional belt tightening. State agencies have been subjected to an across the board 10 percent staff reduction by the end of the 2010-11 fiscal year. They decide where and how to cut. The Energy Commission, like many other state agencies, is planning to meet the order by not filling job vacancies. ARB\u2019s budget plan includes not filling vacancies, as well as holding positions vacant for longer periods and eliminating or reducing overtime. Additionally, ARB eliminated 14 positions, \u201creducing all vacancies by one-third,\u201d according to the board spokesperson. The California Public Utilities Commission has avoided staff reductions so far by cutting in other areas, including staff travel and training. In addition, CPUC staff salaries have not been cut to date. It and the CEC are funded by special funds, not with money from the state\u2019s drained general fund. Even before a new governor is elected, the Air Board and energy agencies are required to justify the cost of their activities to implement AB 32 this coming year through a zero-based budget. The impact is unclear because this so called \u201czero-based budgeting\u201d is a new budget twist. \u201cYou can only run an organization looking at ongoing commitments,\u201d warns Jean Ross, California Budget Project executive director.