Inside Opinion

What's on the minds of Tacoma News Tribune editorial writers

NOTICE: Inside Opinion has moved.

With the launch of our new website, we've moved Inside Opinion.
Visit the new section.

Senate Majority Leader: ‘Enough is enough’

Post by Kim Bradford on Dec. 22, 2009 at 11:14 am |
December 22, 2009 11:14 am

Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown has posted what is essentially a response to our editorial “Past time for state to get tough with unions.”

In her post “Enough is enough – state workers aren’t to blame!”, Brown argues (much as the union did last week) that state workers have already given up $800 million in compensation (raises that were negotiated but never given because the recession hit) in addition to other sacrifices. She says that to ask more of them would be unfair.

Like workers in the private sector, state workers are making major financial sacrifices. But we should resist the temptation to demand that they bear a greater share of the problem. We need remember that many of these workers are paid significantly less than what they might be paid performing comparable work in the private sector. We also need to remember just how critical the services are that state workers provide for our communities.

She also dismisses the suggestion that cutting state worker pay and benefits would help the state budget.

Even if we eliminated all state contributions to state workers’ health care in the current budget, we would still have a $1.65 billion shortfall to deal with. The Legislature isn’t going to be doing this, of course. But the example illustrates how pointing the figure at state employees doesn’t provide a realistic solution to the challenge we face.

Sounds a lot like state worker pay won’t be part of any budget solution coming out of Olympia next year, at least not if Brown has her way.

*
The News Tribune now uses Facebook commenting on selected blogs. See editor's column for more details. Commenters are expected to abide by terms of service for Facebook as well as commenting rules for thenewstribune.com. Report violators to webmaster@thenewstribune.com.