There are promises and there are promises.
This week, Jane Carter, executive director of the Kansas Organization of State Employees, decried the news that the state probably couldn’t afford pay raises for its employees this year by saying, “The Legislature made a promise to the state employees of Kansas to respect the work they do and to reward it with decent pay …”
Carter’s group represents more than 11,000 state workers. Most, if not all, of them probably are doing a great job that warrants a higher salary than they are getting. As the home of Kansas University, Lawrence is well aware of how important state salaries are not only to individuals but to the local economy.
However, sometimes promises bump smack into a reality that makes the promise impossible to keep. The state has made a lot of “promises” to fund salaries, highways, schools and social services. The “promise” to raise state salaries closer to the market rate may have been sincere, but things change.
We respect the work done by state workers, but in a year that legislators are seriously looking at cutting even their own salaries, any individual or group trying to force the state to make good on a funding “promise” had better take a number and go to the end of the line.