Local Politics

State workers, leaders worry pay cut is just the beginning

Posted April 29, 2009

State budget
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— Gov. Bev Perdue’s plan to cut the pay of state workers set off a firestorm of reaction. Perdue said Tuesday the one-half percent pay cut was necessary to help with the $3 billion hole in the state budget for the fiscal year which ends June 30.

As one year ends, another begins and state leaders are already anticipating that the funding gap in the next state budget will require more cuts.

State leaders worry cuts will continue State leaders worry cuts will continue

As state employees like Stephanie Thompson digest the pay cut, they wonder if it is just the beginning.

“A lot of people are discussing, 'What's the next step?' What will happen after the fiscal year is over,” Thompson said Wednesday. Thompson works for the state Department of Commerce.

Sen. Linda Garrou, D-Forsyth, is the chairwoman of the Senate appropriations committee. “I'm afraid we may have to make deeper cuts, look for perhaps more salary cuts as the time goes along because we need to look at recurring dollars,” she said.

That is not the message state workers hoped to hear.

“Like anybody else, I'm nervous,” Kathy Robinson, an employee at the state Department of Revenue, said. “You don't want to keep losing money, but you hope you have a job.”

Legislators say with a growing budget gap, job cuts may be difficult to avoid.

“We're very well aware of the dilemma all private businesses are in. We may be put in that position also,” Garrou said.

The governor said she planned to borrow $400 million of federal stimulus money designated for next year’s budget to balance the budget in the current year.

“She's created, by doing that, an additional $400 million hole (for the 2010 fiscal year) that will need to be resolved somehow,” Senate Minority Leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, pointed out.

Both sides of the aisle acknowledge deep cuts are inevitable.

“It's not gonna be easy,” Sen. David Hoyle, D-Gaston, chairman of the finance committee said. “It's gonna be very, very difficult and it's gonna be very painful for a lot of people.”

Pam Pope has been a state employee for 25 years. “I worry about my job as well as others,” she said.

More details are expected as the budget process continues. The next fiscal year begins July 1.

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  • Nonewsisgoodnews May 6, 2009

    "nonewsisgoodnews: I am a state employee and I make right at $40,000,I know I chose this job and professions. I also have a college education. So a .5% cut is pay is a big deal. For those in the private sector that are having their pay cut for the most part are making WAY more that what most state employees make. -stateemployee"

    And I am a teacher with one last paycheck to go this month before my terminating contract will likely not be renewed. So... be happy you have a job.

  • state employee May 4, 2009

    And yes, state employees do work for the state of NC but they aren't the only body of people that are responsible for the budget shortfall.

  • state employee May 4, 2009

    nonewsisgoodnews: I am a state employee and I make right at $40,000,I know I chose this job and professions. I also have a college education. So a .5% cut is pay is a big deal. For those in the private sector that are having their pay cut for the most part are making WAY more that what most state employees make.

  • 4 kicks May 1, 2009

    sokay - AGREED!!

  • Nonewsisgoodnews May 1, 2009

    Government workers make our standard of living the highest in the world and they do not get paid nearly enough. Private industry has proved over and over that it is full of greedy people who would sell their mother for a buck. No one in government service is there for the money so people should stop blaming them!!!!! -readman

    You act like the Government isn't in charge here. $120k isn't good enough? What would they do otherwise? Order your wife a position for $170k a year and ignore taxes. Reach in and grab money from low class society to fix what you broke. Highest in the world isn't what I'd call it, our health care system stinks and we have to print and borrow money from others to keep ourselves from collapsing. Its got all the other countries scared that we will collapse its so bad. I think they get paid plenty for what they've done. Of course, private industry does deserve some of the blame, but its the government that ignored it.

  • Nonewsisgoodnews May 1, 2009

    OK.. so no one wants a pay cut but my husband's company cut salaries 2 times in the last 4 months. He is making 10% less. A co-worker just got cut 25%. So.. I am thinking 1/2% is not that bad. -lorivalentine1

    And how much does he make now Lori? So your going to take it out of the public services that keep you safe and educate your children? Pretty spiteful there.

  • Nonewsisgoodnews May 1, 2009

    Nufsaid...

    How would the NCAE get data to know what teachers are good or bad or not? They can't judge and that data is way too easily manipulated by student placement, just like with redistricting lines. I would also like to know where you get your data. What makes you think smaller class sizes doesn't help some students achieve more? I haven't seen a reliable source. It also hasn't been tried in a normal school classroom in a long time. Don't you think one teacher teaching 35 students with all the different learning styles and rates of learning is going to have some effect? They don't all get it the first time and students aren't going to sit quietly while a teacher helps them one by one especially when their punishment is to only do what they should have done originally wasting everyone's learning time. Your having to reach with these complaints.

  • MakoII May 1, 2009

    groovyguru,

    Lets talk about Education. It SHOULD be a part of National Defense. Education is what causes Americans to be the MOST productive labor market on the earth. We use high tech implements and that required a formal education. We also are innovative and invent more than half of the worlds new inventions. That's because of our public education system. Its why our army can require almost anyone and make them a better soldier than most other countries, because our soldiers are well educated BEFORE they enter the armed services. It helps them THINK when they're in the field because they were taught how to problem solve in school.

    Cutting back on teachers and their time to play lessons is literally, meaningfully killing our ability to train our youth to invent our new economy and defend this nation. People who think like you might as well join the Taliban where they already provide the cuts you're asking for. Move to Afghanistan if you like that kind of cut in government.

  • MakoII May 1, 2009

    groovyguru,

    How about housing mental patients and felons? Would you like to cut back on guards and maybe just let out some prisoners so the load can be handled? You can't outsource these things. They need to be done locally. How can say a person in India test your stream water for Turbidity and make sure a builder isn't flooding the stream with clay? Why is that important? Because the state stocks streams with fish for fishing. This brings tourism that builds the states economy. People get fined for polluting the streams that cause fish kills that turn people to other places to fish. This is all done by the state. How about health testing? How do you know your kid won't get an ear,nose,throat infection and die because the state DIDN'T test for e. coli in streams and coastal waters where sometimes raw pig sewage runs (sometimes by accident, sometimes by intention, READ about what's happening with the Swine flu in Mexico?), and also human sewage. You need these services.

  • MakoII May 1, 2009

    groovyguru, State Employees work for YOU. You should look up and see what the state does for you and businesses. Testing soil for farmers so they save money so they don't have to applicate too much fertilizer or pesticide. Guarding your food and water. What if a farmer applies a pesticide that runs into your groundwater well? Or has cows where it's paddies go to your well? The state inspects and tests and handles these things. They inspect stores to make sure a pound of grapes actually weighs a pound. That the containers are actually correct in their ounces. That (as I've said before) fungus that can leave cancer causing chemicals in your milk, corn (which is in everything) and peanuts are tested and taken off the shelf BEFORE you and your kids drink them. That your roads are kept maintained. Ever drive in New York or Washington D.C.? Like their roads? How about service lines? How many tellers do you want available when you register vehicles? More to follow...

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