Friday, June 12, 2009

Joint Finance Votes Pay Cut

This afternoon around 2:00PM the Joint Finance Committee voted to cut the pay of state workers and education employees by 2.5%. The proposal is slightly different for education employees. They would take 1.5% in straight pay cut and two furlough days (during scheduled professional development days)equivalent in total to the same 2.5%.

This is not acceptable to the Delaware State Education Association and our coalition partners in State Workers United for a Better Delaware. Immediately after the vote coalition Representatives gave statements to the press expressing our dissatisfaction. Also, we had a chance to speak with several members of JFC giving the consistent message that the only vote which will get us off your case is for NO salary reduction.

This fight is a long way from over. Regardless of the fact that the Governor was finally able to pressure a seventh vote for salary cut in the JFC; as of this date, the Governor does not have the votes to pass the final budget with this salary cut.

The salary cut amounts to less than $29 million. In the context of revenue possibilities this is small change. A mere 30 cents a barrel tax on oil lightered up the Delaware would cover this amount. Collecting less than 6% of the $531 million in unpaid corporate taxes would also cover it. State Workers United will be showing lawmakers many ways to get $29 million without cutting the pay of the public servants.

However, we need to be honest with ourselves. This is not about the Governor and some of his supporters being clueless about revenue. DSEA and the coalition have been floating viable revenue ideas for weeks. Forcing the pay cut issue is about face saving, not dollar saving.

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