Published September 24, 2008
Rep. Alexander: leave state worker contracts alone
Rep. Gary Alexander, the lead Republican on the House budget committee, said he doesn't want to trim the contracts negotiated by state worker unions, as some in his party have suggested. See here and see here."I supported the collective bargaining bill, and I believe in it," said Alexander this morning. He reiterated his long-standing position that reductions in state spending should be made through government doing less, not across-the-board cuts to worker benefits."I believe we should pay them a reasonable compensation package. If that means less public employees, that's the responsible trade off," he said.His caveat on the union deals was Step M, a new pay increase included in the 2009-2011 contract that doesn't take affect until 2012. "Which to me is a potential violation of our responsibilities that says we cannot bind a future legislature," he said.And contracting out state services to the private sector, an anathema to unions, is a viable option for cutting costs as the state faces a $3.2 shortfall in the next two-year budget.BTW, the game of the week is to argue about how to describe that budget situation. If youre interested in "projected" versus "shortfall" versus "deficit" versus "there is no planned deficit," I recommend colleague Joe Turner's recent run down here.