Sunday, December 27, 2009

Blatantly Unbridled Greed...

Talk about unbridled greed…In spite of the bad economy, the state’s dire financial situation, and Governor Christine Gregoire’s proposal to cut $1.7 billion from schools, and eliminate the Basic Health Plan to solve the budget shortfall, state employee unions are refusing to forego a five percent increase for more than 21,000 people already averaging over $70,000 a year. This amounts to around $83 million in “step” or longevity-pay increases for almost a third of the state’s workers typically in their first six years on the job. State workers earn about a third more than private sector workers in comparable jobs.

After the legislative session ended without new state employee contracts, Gregoire struck a deal with the unions that has the taxpayers picking up 88 percent of health care costs and left pay arrangements from the 2007-09 contract intact.

Newspapers all over the state have issued editorial warnings to the Governor and Legislators as they contemplate new taxes for 2010. Stating the need for “radical” thinking in these tough times, newspapers encouraged the state to dig deeper for more government efficiency — particularly with regard to these pay and benefit increases. The Spokane Spokesman-Review said, “State Unions must be part of fair fiscal solution,” and others said talk of new taxes would be premature without going back to the bargaining table with state employee unions. We couldn’t agree more, and add the Business Journal's voice to those already calling for the Governor to say a firm “No” to the unions.

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