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December 23, 2010 / jimnv

Elected Officials Get Raises – State Employees Get Zip

Existing law requires elected officials get the same pay raise as state employees and their income cannot decrease during their terms. This means they will get a  6 percent pay raise next year because state employees got a 2 percent raise in 2007 and 4 percent in 2008. For example, governor-elect Sandoval will get a $ 8,500 a year raise making his annual salary $149,573, but he has promised to give it back.

Though state employees received a 6 percent pay raise, they also got a 4.6 percent pay cut due to mandatory furloughs and received no cost of living raises for 2009 or 2010. So the calculation would be:  6 percent pay raises (over 4 years) minus 4.6 percent pay cut equals a 1.4 percent pay raise in four years or a 0.35 percent pay raise for each year. Then you have to consider no merit increases or longevity pay, increased health insurance premiums and drastically fewer insurance benefits. This represents at least a 10 percent reduction in income in the past two years. Talk about a slap-in-the-face and a kick-in-the-ass!

And… many of the same people in the legislature, swayed by business lobbyists, attacked state employee’s salaries and benefits as being excessive are themselves getting a raise which state employees do not get. They are corrupt and out-of-touch.

Incredibly, in May 2009, the legislature heard, then ignored SB 420, which would have deferred the 2011 increase and impose the same salary reductions as state employees. So, now they will make $146.29 a day starting February 7, 2011 and this will continue for 60 days. However, they also get other benefits throughout the session such as travel reimbursements and office expenses.

What is most galling is that anyone could say that state employees are over paid and deserve even less. State employees deserve better treatment and salaries.  What’s more, they earn it every day and especially so after a 22 percent reduction in the number of state employees since 2007.

All this must stop. To start, there must be no further pay cuts, an end to furloughs and other salary freezes. Then, salaries must be retroactively increased to 2007 based on the official Consumer Price Index.  Based on the CPI rates so far, this would be a retroactive salary make-up of  7.9 % through 2010. (CPIs: 2007: 2.8%, 2008: 3.8%, 2009: -0.4% and 2010: 1.7%, through November 2010.

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