To the editor:
I just read that the House Appropriations Committee Republicans apparently don't think classified employees of Kansas deserve even a modest raise, although the funding comes from a source already supposedly dedicated to classified employees. They don't want to pony up, even when it amounts to state workers paying for it themselves by giving up a benefit.
Not only won't they let us sacrifice a benefit to solve our severe cash-flow difficulties, they want to take that money for some other state budget problem. The raise proposed by Gov. Sebelius was at least taking from Peter to pay Peter. Now it appears Peter may get robbed to pay Paul.
According to the Journal-World, appropriations chairman Melvin Neufeld says we don't deserve raises because people elsewhere in Kansas aren't getting them. For 10 years prior to the current economic slump, when business was booming everywhere, most Kansans were sharing in the bounty. Classified employee's wages, however continued a decline that began a decade before that.
Committee Democrats say employees will feel "disappointed." For the 4.4 percent of classified employees statewide who earn at or below the poverty level for a family of four, "despair" is more accurate.
Under the circumstances, we think it very reasonable to expect the 1.5 percent raise recommended by the governor. Hopefully the full House will recognize what the Republicans on the Appropriations Committee have not, and support the 1.5 percent.