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California to nix cell phones for half its employees

Gov. Jerry Brown plans to cut out half of the state-issued cell phones, saying it's hard for him to understand why taxpayers should be footing so many cell phone bills.

California Gov. Jerry Brown Brown's Facebook page

The newly elected governor of California wants to cut state spending and has starting by calling for the shut-off of half of the state-issued cell phones, some 48,000 devices, by June 1.

Gov. Jerry Brown, who will also be returning his own state-issued phone, said that the move will save the financially strapped state $20 million. In a statement, Brown said:

It is difficult for me to believe that 40 percent of all state employees must be equipped with tax-payer-funded cell phones. The current number of phones out there is astounding.

Of course, the push to cut the number in half by midyear could be slowed if devices are still under contract. In those cases, an early termination fee may be a greater expense to the state than just keeping the device.

Read more of "Penny-pinching California cuts off cell phones; What's next?" at ZDNet's Between the Lines.