To the Editor:
“Employers in business and industry certainly perceive that they are unable to compete with the state for employees. Adequate public review of these contracts would help clarify if this is true or not. Moreover, our historic generosity has put an unintended stress on those who actually pay the taxes that contribute to public employees’ salaries.”
The above is an excerpt from a letter to the Governor on Feb. 18 and signed by many State House and Senate leaders. The letter urges the Governor to hold “the monetary terms of the contacts at zero,” basically, no raises for state employees.
I am saddened that they chose either willfully inaccurate or shockingly ignorant language to describe state workers’ pay. Historically, union members have accepted 0 percent raises when the state budget was tight, and over 10 years GGU (state union) members have averaged less than 2.5 percent annually. That does not keep up with inflation.
The state recently did do a classification study that found many workers were doing work above their job class when compared to comparable non-state jobs. But the part I take most umbrage with is where they make it seem like state workers are bleeding their neighbors dry. There are no state income taxes or state sales taxes, and I find it hard to believe that the taxes on the oil companies are “unintended.”
Attacking state workers with such inaccurate charges does not help the negotiation process. A little forthrightness and honesty will achieve much better results than the all too common practice of “spinning” and finger-pointing that politicians today are so fond of.