Friday, December 19, 2008

Welcome To My World....Pfft~~~~~~~>

It seems like bad news always enters my life in five year cycles and almost always around the Christmas season.

In 2002, Connecticut was going through tough economic times, much like it is now. The short sighted way to balance the budget was to lay off about 2,800 state employees. Not cutting spending or raising taxes, but laying off 2,800 hardworking people, of which I was one of the lucky ones.

Were any potential savings realized? Of course not. Did this help balance the budget? What do you think? Did the General Assembly wise up and change their ways? Are you serious?

It's now Christmas 2008 and once again the state is facing a ballooning budget deficit ($300 million). And once again, the state is looking at laying off state workers to balance the budget.

People, acting like Chainsaw Al and shedding bodies is not going to save money nor balance the budget. It didn't work last time and it's certainly not going to work this time.

In my personal opinion, this is what has to be done in order to help reduce the deficit.

1) Reduce spending. While across the board spending cuts can be made at all agencies, other cuts can be made at the state level, which can trickle down to the municipal level. Make the municipalities grow up and take responsibility for their actions.

2) All contracts, save for A & R, expire at the end of the 2008/09 FY. Negotiate a wage freeze for a year and cut the percentages of the raises and COLA's {cost of living allowance} given, which currently stands at 6%. Slash it in half.

3) Eliminate longevity payments. Longevity is currently given to employees who have managed to officially survive ten years of employment with the state.

4) Merge small agencies with the larger ones that can basically do the same thing. Eliminate positions that overlap and save money. Right now, the state has about 90+ agencies.

5) Don't rehire retirees back. Let the vacancies by eliminated.

6) STOP DEFICIT SPENDING!!!! Take a hard line and tell people, "NO! You can't have!!"

7) Stop listening to the special interest groups and do what's right for the state, not for the special interests.
This PSA has been brought to you today by the dual combination of an unhappy state taxpayer and a severely stressed out state worker.


  1. What are the chances they will actually listen to you? Man if they would, you'd eliminate A LOT of your government's headaches. If not MOST of them.

    Alas, the wheels grind on and it's hard to put the brakes on something that's been turning the same way for so long.

  2. but, but, you're ideas make too much sense.

  3. Jannie: The government may listen, but the state unions certainly won't. From what I understand, the unions have once again, put their their philosophy of "we ain't giving up what we already got", above doing what they're supposed to do: keep their members employed by any means necessary.

    Charles: I agree with you 100%. I'm not sure what it's like where you work, but in my world, the following words are considered dirty:

    1) Free.
    2) Common Sense.

  4. Many good ideas here, and they all make sense. I think many people would take small concessions rather than lose their jobs. Hopefully some of your insight will be instituted, and your job secured!

  5. We can only hope. Not sure if you've been following this particular issue, but the Governor did announce the other day that she doesn't want to do layoffs.

    Which leaves open the possibility of offering early retirement incentives and attrition.

    The problem with early retirement is that they won't be able to do it like they did last time (gave three years and paid off everyones sick and vacation in 1/3 increments, starting in 2005), because that was declared illegal by the courts I believe. So if they do it in one shot, it will be another massive hit to the coffers.

  6. I couldn't agree more. Also, why do we continue to put idiots in power who are destroying our country?

  7. Usually, I don't touch politics on the national level, mostly because I'm always outgunned whenever I make a foray into the rough waters (Moderate Republican, but have occasionally voted the other way).

    My speed is mostly the state level, and on the state level, people may bitch about the quality of government services received, but in the end, they vote for the same old same old because they really are afraid of change.

    The national level has much of the same malaise. We shall see what comes forth in the next few years.

    Change was promised, but judging by who the President-elect picked for Cabinet posts, we could get more of the same malaise that currently is infecting the country.

    I could be wrong on this, national wise, because I would really hate to be proven right.

  8. This is a difficult time for everyone across the world. Mr T's employers, a large national retailer, are making the first job cull in January. We're optimistic that he'll survive the first wave but this recession is going to be around for a long time and when it comes to saving/making cash (especially in business) no one is indispensable.

    I think you've hit the nail on the head when you say "People are afraid of change." The whole world is in a state of flux at the moment, politically, socially and economically. It's about time some folks started to look at the wider picture and not just act in their own interests.

    I've just started reading Obama's autobiography. It's looking promising... but I'll let you know what I think when I finished. One thing's for sure, I sincerely hope that his election is the catalyst for change. Idealsim can be a wonderful thing; I hope he doesn't get bogged down with all the tradionalists.

    Hope you survive the cost cutting and hey, make the most of Christmas anyway. We've gotta live each day to the full, cos you never know what's around the corner.

  9. Jane: No truer words spoken.

    I am a realist when it comes to this stuff. Having been on the receiving end of this five years ago, has really helped open my eyes on this.

    Even though my job is relatively secure from being bumped, I do worry about the others who are in lesser (but more plentiful) positions. That's why it bothers me that my union is taking such a narrow-minded approach to this issue. They're of the mindset of "we ain't gonna give up nothing no how", and would rather see it's members lose their job than make a compromise.

    It will be interesting to see what the latest Presidential installment brings to the table.

    Thanks for stopping by today.

  10. I'm confused. Almost half of your suggestions (3/7) would eliminate jobs, which is what I thought you wanted to prevent in the first place.

  11. To clarify: only one point (merging smaller agencies) really reduces jobs. In state government, not filling vacancies is considered a "paper savings". If you don't fill then, you're not spending money on salaries or benefits.

    Merging state agencies would eliminate redundant positions, but some of those people would be dispersed elsewhere.

    The one option I didn't present, but is on the table, is offering early retirement. The basic disadvantage to that, is that the budget would take a lethal hit paying out all that unused vacation time, comp time and sick time. The only way that can be avoided is if they do it like it was done back in 2003, which was offer people early retirement, then pay out their monies in 1/3 increments from 2005-07 (this was somehow declared illegal by the courts, I believe).

    Everything else I mentioned is very viable because it's simply paying out monies that can be contractually eliminated.


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