Wednesday, August 4, 2010

17 Steps Forward, 237 Steps Backwards (2)

In part 2, I would like to give to you the gruesome details on what was implemented for FY 2010/11. I know that this will probably put you to sleep, so don't read this unless you had good night's sleep or ingested tons of caffeine.

1} Furlough days. We have another 3 days of unpaid furlough to take for this fiscal year. And of course, the state will use the money for things other than the budget. Like raises (delayed) and cost of living adjustments (which should be delayed but aren't). Color me cynical, but if I'm giving money back to the state to help with the budget, I don't want it given back out to cover contractual raises and bonuses, even with me being an intended recipient.

While furlough days are but a temporary hit to the wallet (next one doesn't hit until Thanksgiving), what the unions agreed to next is what got people up in arms, because its a permanent hit to the wallet, at least for about 1/3 of us.

Info dump: The State of CT gives lifetime medical benefits to their retirees and their spouses.

Problem: The medical benefit fund for retirees is approaching insolvency.

Solution: Another giveback.

Specifically, item 2} The brilliant idea they came up with, and that the union agreed to (in exchange for other things like raises) was to make effective July 1st of this year, all new hires and all current employees who have less than five years of total service, to give back 3% of their gross wages for up to a total of ten years. To give you a basic idea on the minimum amount an employee would give, we'll use as an example my job title (Payroll Clerk) at entry level.

Step 1 (officially, CL 15-1; CL stands for Clerical, 15 is pay grade, and 1 is what step your salary is at) is a bi-weekly salary of $1563.76, of which 3% = $46.91 per pay period. Total for one year would be $1224.35 (this is reached at multiplying the $46.91 by the amount of pay periods in a year, which is 26). And that's not counting things like overtime.

Imagine how thrilling it is to see on the average $1200 (plus a 5 to 6% per year adjustment for raises and cost of living increases) a year for the next five to ten years removed from your paycheck to fund someone else's insurance.

Raise? If you get one, chances are you will never see it. Same goes for cost of living adjustment. Oh, and don't forget for the semi-annual health insurance premium increase, currently pegged at 5% per six months.


Up next: A few ideas on who else can share the pain and what might be on tap in the future.


  1. I'm fortunate to have good health insurance but many folks around me seem to have many issues with their own.

  2. Money generally flows one way, away from whereever I'm standing. this sounds much the same.

  3. David: It's much the same here with health insurance. From what I understand, once the current contract with the insurance providers expires in 2017, they want to make the average state retiree's health insurance more in line to what most municipalities do, which is give you about 10 years, then you're on your own to find health insurance coverage.

    Charles: So very true. It will continue to flow away from coffers and be spent on things that can really wait for the money.

  4. Just heightens the pleasure of going to work, doesn't it?

  5. In seventh grade, my dad, who never swears, gave me my first and best lesson in government. "Everything the government touches," he said, "it fucks. Remember that." And how right he was.

  6. Did I tell ya the dude that was calling in a union rep to begin the process n had enough votes to form one got ratted on n got magically canned for something else before the meeting could happen? Anyone else wanna try? You nuts? No takers...

    Where I work all but the three, untouched tyrants, er I mean, upper crust- have taken large pay cuts- (see post below comment)

  7. Mama Z: Pfft....pleasure my ass. I'm fortunate enough to avoid part 2 of this, but it still sucks dogmeat. Got more things going on work that I would love to share with everyone, but I'll just say that I'm slowly being marginalized at work and soon I'll be collecting a paycheck for doing nothing.

    R.: Yup, it sure does.

    Hey you might like this little item about your state: Chris Dudley, former NBA Star, is running for the Republican nomination for Governor.

    Snaggle: Ugly stuff all around. I would think that your former co-worker has a legitimate lawsuit on his hands for retaliation.

    Of course management in the private sector won't take pay cuts. It would make them seem human.

  8. That super-sucks. In Canada, at least in Ontario, working for the government is still a sweet deal. Civil servants are paid well and get about a million paid vacation days every year. My aunt is one of them, so lucky her. And on top of that health care is already "free" or at least paid for by all wage-earners and equally available to all residents, so all in all we should count our blessings!

  9. We do not have health insurance, just paying out Kelly's broken arms as we go.

    Times are tough but I sense much much better times around the corner for states and nation, starting in November.


  10. S.R.: Probably would explain why a good chunk of your budget and job growth can be directly attributed to the government.

  11. Jannie: That sucks. I do know that I'm facing that with my soon-to-be 18 year old son when he gets kicked off my dental insurance. Fortunately (or unfortunately due to new state regs) he'll be on my health insurance until either he's 26 or finds a job with health benefits.

  12. Welcome to the Amerikan Corpocracy, home of the fee & land of the slave. <:\

  13. Reading this is depressing. It's not about keeping your head above water anymore - it's about holding your breath until you drown.

  14. Lana: Much worse when you're working for the government and you got people who probably have a budget for themselves and live within their own means yet find it nearly impossible to do the same thing with other people's money.

    Talon: Depressing indeed. I have co-workers who took a job with the state specifically for the benefits and not for the money, because in most cases these people took a major cut in pay to come work for the state.


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G. B. Miller

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