Wednesday, May 6, 2009

You Can Bet Your Bottom Dollar That Your Bottom Dollar Can't Be Bet

Title of the post has a major disconnect with the content of the post.

Or does it?

Back in February, I made a post about the current state of the State as it pertained to the economic meltdown that was (and currently is) sweeping the nation. Last month, the powers that be (labor unions and the Governor's office) came to an agreement that will save about $637 million in the next two budget years.

So, as a state worker, this is what I got to look forward to for the next two to three years. I'm so blessed.
1} To start with, this agreement freezes wages for one year and requires us to take seven furlough days, one before the end of the '08/'09 FY and three in '09/'10 & '10/11. Financial hit: minimum 6% reduction in income.

2} It creates a new retirement incentive program to encourage those who are eligible to retire to do so now. Under this program, three years of service credit will be added on. However, payouts for leave accruals (sick, vacation, comp) will paid out in 1/3 installments starting in 2012. Basically if you retire now, you'll get the last of your money in six years. They did this previously in 2003, and the last payments were made in 2007.

3} All insurance premiums will rise by $350 a year (this should be neat) and co-pays for drugs will increase. Also, generics will be mandatory unless the doctor can medically prove that non-generics are necessary.

4} The establishment of a "Rule of 75", which means that in order for a retiree to start collecting health benefits, the age and years of service must equal or exceed 75.

5} This next one is a goody. All current employees with less than five years of service and all future employees will be required to contribute 3% of their earnings annually to fund retiree health care during the first ten years of their employment. Sound familiar boys and girls? Sort of like what D.C. wants to do with illegal immigrants.

6} No layoffs for two fiscal years. Under this agreement, the protection only applies to employees hired before 7/1/09 and would not bar the Governor from restructuring agencies or eliminating positions, provided the affected employees could transfer to a comparable position elsewhere.

7} It also contains additional provisions in case the economy keeps heading to Sulfur Springs. Like more furlough days and delays in scheduled payments or pension contributions.
We're voting on this garbage today. 'Course, it doesn't do nothing to reduce the ranks of upper management (where there is real savings to be had).

Gotta love it.
Updated (5/9): The majority of the bargaining units approved the concessions. For full details, click here.


  1. When you take furlough, are those days paid or unpaid?

  2. The same old story over and over again. And they say Hollywood doesn't have any new ideas.

  3. Maybe your vote really will make a difference. And sounds like you've got a good handle on what works and does not work fiscally.

    Georgie B for Prez!!!

  4. Lynn: Unpaid days.

    Charles: Most definitely. And the state hasn't even addressed the problem of too many layers of management. In my agency alone, about 15% (600 or so) of the staff is management.

    Jannie: I (and tens of thousands of my fellow co-workers) have an excellent grip on what would work. Too bad that the state legislature is still pursuing a head in the sand philosophy.

  5. Benefits are still better off in the public sector than the private one.

    Retirement? Pension? They don't exist anymore.

  6. The one good positive about the pension plan I have is that it's not a 401(k), therefore it isn't susceptable to the volatile market swings that have pummeled the traditional retirement programs that 2/3 of the population has today, if at all.

  7. Vote?
    You can vote for all those cuts if you still want a job! This is pure blackmail without a choice! You choose between cuts or lay-offs- Whatahey? Same everywhere!

    My hours have been reduced since Oct '09 (less pay). Duties increased in less time. All expenses are up- Management for my Co has yet to have any pay reductions- this is all horribly unfair!

    You get to choose? Or the illusion to choose...

    that 75- for the birds!

  8. I'm afraid so.

    You see, whenever the economy starts to tank, our state budget is greatly affected. Like it or not, about 25% of our state budget comes from Wall Street.

    So when that happens, state workers get whacked pretty good. Fortunately for this time around, we actually get a voice in deciding our future.

    Back in 2003, the unions grossly miscalculated and underestimated the resolve of then Gov. John Rowlans to fix the budget by any means necessary. End result was about 3,000 layoffs (of which I was an involuntary participant).

    It sucks all the way around, but it's really a lose-win scenario.


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