Governor shooting workers in the back

Letter to the editor

Posted: Thursday, June 02, 2005

The governor signs for himself (and his many appointees) a 50 percent pay raise.

Simple demographic projections indicate that droves of state workers will be leaving their positions over the next decade as the largest generation in American history, the Boomers, move into their long-anticipated retirement.

State workers are faced with a contract stipulating yet another decrease in real wages (now estimated at a 30 percent drop over the last two decades), making Alaska state workers among the worst paid in the United States, while living in the state with the highest cost of living among all 50 states. Nice combination.

In response, the state legislators, quislings all, vote to dismantle the only remaining decent reason to work for state government, the retirement system. To add insult to injury, they vote in a 3 percent a year deduction to fund the "shortfall" never proven to actually exist by any reasonable accounting standard to an effort to inflict further pain.

All this at a time when the state of Alaska is awash in a budget surplus due to the continued $50-plus price for a barrel of oil. Of course all the state revenue projections for the future are based on the totally delusionary price of $25 per barrel, a price (thanks to Peak Oil) that we will never see again in anyone's lifetime.

In two years when the contract for state workers comes up for renewal, I suggest that a return to the real wage pay level of 1980 is in order, as well as coverage of the increased deductions for our destroyed nonexistent pension plan. It might be an good idea to even actually ask for a real raise instead of just returning to the parity levels of the past. To highlight just how ridiculous things have become, consider that state workers would require a one-time 35 percent pay raise just to get us to some level of fairness, and that completely ignores the nuking of the retirement system. On second thought, maybe the state workers need to hold out for the same raise the governor just got (although I guess they could forgo the need for a Lear Jet).

The politicians must be pretty sure that workers and citizens alike are as ignorant as they are. Why else would they be convinced they can shoot so many of their constituents in the back and then walk away without facing the consequences?

Matt Skerbitz


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