Archive for Monday, March 21, 2011

Statehouse Live: House Appropriations advances state employee pay cut; exempts support staff

March 21, 2011, 1:44 p.m. Updated March 22, 2011, 8:41 a.m.


Kansas state Reps. Clark Shultz, left, a Lindsborg Republican, and Doug Gatewood, right, a Columbus Democrat, confer during a House Appropriations Committee meeting, Monday, March 21, 2011, at the Statehouse in Topeka.

Kansas state Reps. Clark Shultz, left, a Lindsborg Republican, and Doug Gatewood, right, a Columbus Democrat, confer during a House Appropriations Committee meeting, Monday, March 21, 2011, at the Statehouse in Topeka.

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— The House budget-writing committee on Tuesday approved cutting state employees’ pay by $19 million, but exempted legislative staff.

Rep. Sharon Schwartz, R-Washington, made the motion to remove the legislators’ support staff from the proposed pay cut.

“That is the least we can do to show our support,” Schwartz said. “I don’t see how we can carry on our work without these people,” she said.

Rep. Pete DeGraaf, R-Mulvane, said it was “inappropriate” to exempt the legislative staff from the pay cut.

Rep. Virgil Peck, R-Tyro, noted that the departments that support the Legislature, such as the Legislative Research Department, Revisor of Statutes, and Division of Post Audit, were receiving increases in funding.

“We are adding money for our people, but we are asking others to take some cuts,” Peck said.

But other Republicans said those increases were justified. For example, part of the increase for the Legislature Research Department is to pay for more staff to help legislators with redistricting next year.

Democrats joined Schwartz, although Rep. Bill Feuerborn of Garnett said, “We have lots of other workers in state positions. It’s not correct to just pick out certain workers.”

The House Appropriations Committee approved Schwartz’s motion.

The committee then approved the overall budget bill on a 12-10 vote, which advances the measure to the full House.

Democrats criticized the overall appropriations bill saying it hurt public schools, state employees and social services. The House plan cuts state base aid to public schools by $232 per student.

“If we made a list of all the cuts, the column would be pretty long and the pain would be extensive,” said Rep. Barbara Ballard, D-Lawrence.

Several conservative Republicans said the proposal spent too much. But a majority on the committee said the bill was the best balance they could strike in tough times. The state is facing an estimated $500 million revenue shortfall in the fiscal year that starts July 1.

Under the proposal to cut state employees’ pay, legislators, justices and judges, statewide elected officials and statutory agency heads would face a 7.5 percent cut. In addition, all other state employees making more than $100,000 would be cut 7.5 percent.

Those making between $40,000 and $100,000 would be cut on a sliding scale. Employees earning below $40,000 would not be cut.

The bill will be considered by the full House next week.


Richard Payton 6 years, 7 months ago

A employee making $40,000.00 a year at 7.5% pay cut earns $37,000.00 a year. An employee making $38,500.00 a year receives no pay cut. It pays to make less a year in some cases if this bill passes.

JayCat_67 6 years, 7 months ago

Sliding scale between 40K and 100K means that the individual making 40K would receive a smaller percentage cut in pay than the 7.5%.

kuphil 6 years, 7 months ago

The article is needlessly confusing- the amendment is a straight-line reduction, going from 0% (for those making 40k) to 7.5% (for those making 100k)

true_patriot 6 years, 7 months ago

Class warfare right out in the open: Gauge a small segment of middle class workers, tantamount to raising taxes on them a lot, rather than raising taxes on everyone a tiny bit. That class of workers has had pay freezes and erosion of benefits in the boom times (resulting in flat to falling real wages) and now gets raped a second time in the bust cycle.

This is crudely partisan and not pragmatically responsible leadership.

newmath 6 years, 7 months ago

What is needed is a law that makes it so that state contractors and consultants cannot be paid more per hour than actual state employees. This would save the state tons of money.

newmath 6 years, 7 months ago

to continue.

since state employees are over paid, if we were to pay contractor more per hour than a state employee, they we are obviously overpaying the contractor as well.

tolawdjk 6 years, 7 months ago

Yes, but a state contractor is a private sector employee, and thus, a tax payer and not a tax taker.

Sacred cow is sacred.

Scruggsy 6 years, 7 months ago

I hope this will be the dumbest post I read all week, but I'm probably wrong. If this was sarcasm and I missed it, I apologize, but here we go:

1- Who do you think pays private contractors to perform work for the state? It comes from tax dollars, meaning private contractors cost YOU more money.

2- Do you realize state employees pay the same taxes as everyone else?

tolawdjk 6 years, 7 months ago

Obvious statement is obvious. You might as well stated that not all rectangles are squares.

My point was that when a job is in the public sector, it is spit upon as a "burden", but as soon as you privatize it, it somehow becomes magically acceptable.

It doesn't matter that it is still doing the exact same job...for example cleaning the trough in the legislature washroom. Or that it still doesn't "produce" anything, or that it might even cost more to accomplish...make it "private" and it is perfect.

Carol Bowen 6 years, 7 months ago

And where does the contractor get their money? They are paid out of our taxes dollars.

newmath 6 years, 7 months ago

take a look on the state purchasing website at the contracts posted there.

here is an example of one with rates hitting $150 and $200 an hour for services that normal state employees would earn $30 to $40 an hour to perform. $150 an hour to develop HTML and CSS templates is amazing.

I would suggest anyone interested in really saving money would ask what is up with these incredible rates. It is a bit harder to find the rates on the newer contracts, probably part of that whole upgrade they did to the accounting system last year.

Liberty275 6 years, 7 months ago

I agree with that. And if the state can't find contractors to work for whatever the state will pay, the service will not be done and not paid for. That should go a long way towards reducing state taxes.

Where's that petition. I'll sign it.

David Albertson 6 years, 7 months ago

It sure is funny how there's not one mention of cutting their own pay or benefits. Put your money where your mouth is a-holes.

Maddy Griffin 6 years, 7 months ago

Brownback would never do that. It's up to us smaller folk to carry the burden for all his cronies.

sweetiepie 6 years, 7 months ago

They wouldn't if their pay was annualized.

imastinker 6 years, 7 months ago

I don't know what that means, but they make less than $100/day while the legislature is in session. They get $100/day per diem as well, which is for lodging and travel expenses. That's less than most people make per day - and a part time job to boot!

sweetiepie 6 years, 7 months ago

Actually they make a little over $200 a day and get paid for Saturdays and Sundays. And all of them make enough money somewhere else that they can afford to take off from that job for the legislative session.

imastinker 6 years, 7 months ago

I didn't realize they get paid for weekends, but they still aren't making a lot of money as our state legislators. I bet it's hard to hold a job where you can take off for a few months every year. I would hope the people running our state are successful.

In my mind, what we have is the ideal of what our elected officials should be paid. It's enough to cover the costs of being there but not enough to make a living on. Even at $200/day is still less than $20k for a 90 day session. Most of them will have to eat at restaurants and stay in hotels while at the capital too, paid out of their own pocket.

question4u 6 years, 7 months ago

Brownback's plan did not call for cuts to state employee salaries, so where is the justification for this? Since Brownback has suggested that the budget can be balanced without spitting on public employees, DeGraaf clearly doesn't care whether his proposal is necessary or not. Not even a fourth grader could fail to comprehend the ugliness of this guy's character.

Now let's guess what the House as a whole will do? Its integrity is represented by Mike Only-My-Law-Firm-is-Allowed-to-Sue-the-State O'Neal. Its compassion is represented by Virgil Death-From-Above Peck. Its fairness is represented by Connie Olive-Complexion-Detection O'Brien, and its intelligence is represented by Bill Redneck-Rap Otto.

The only question is what kind of person is Brownback? Does he have integrity, compassion, a sense of fairness and intelligence? Does he have the moral fiber to show by example that public employees should not be made scapegoats for a problem that belongs to the state as a whole? Does he have a sense of justice, or will he allow people like DeGraaf to gratuitously slap around workers whose only mistake is to have taken a job with the state? Is he intelligent enough to know that cutting the salaries of state workers (which he has already suggested is not necessary) takes money out of the economy, lowers morale, raises turnover rate, and insures that the quality of worker who will consider a job with the state of Kansas will drop?

Brownback has already proposed a budget that doesn't intentionally beat up on people. Will he stick to his position or will he allow the pettiness, self-interest, stupidity and maliciousness of the Kansas House to leave its stain on him?

Alceste 6 years, 7 months ago

He. He. Turnover is a good thing in many instances within "state of Kansas government service": There are a lot of R.O.A.D. (Retired On Active Duty) Warriors who have occupied the same seat for 30 years and are just drawing a check as they await their KPERS windfall. Funny stuff! To the victor goes the spoils, eh?

notanota 6 years, 7 months ago

Perhaps we should pay them competitively for all their years of service instead of deferring the compensation to when they retire. Or maybe management should stop being lazy and actually document these alleged cases of worker incompetence, since public employees can be fired for cause, too. Oh well, I'm sure paying them poorly and removing their retirement will mean only competent workers will remain in their positions, right?

Thinking_Out_Loud 6 years, 7 months ago

2.8 million residents in Kansas. 1.7 million registered voters. 36,000 State employees.

I don't think the State workers stand a chance in pushing legislators out.

Scott Drummond 6 years, 7 months ago

State workers have spouses, family and friends. The merchants of Topeka and Lawrence are also likely not strong supporters of de-funding their customers.

corduroypants 6 years, 7 months ago

how come you just rite in one long worded sentence no once can tell what you are trying if indeed you are trying to say something which at this point is really hard to tell becuze you dont use traditional methods of english commnuication the end

Jan Rolls 6 years, 7 months ago

When election time comes they should make flyers with everyone of these idiots names on them to include their crazy statements and their vote and distribute them to every household in their district. Some of them won't get reelected.

kugrad 6 years, 7 months ago

The irony is that Anthony Brown tries to portray himself as a pro-education representative. This shows what kind of radical extreme right agenda he really has in mind. I've spoken with him on the phone and his pro-education talk is a complete lie.

notanota 6 years, 7 months ago

How dare you, part of his electorate, call and tell him things that are contrary to what he imagines you to think you actually wanted. I would imagine most of his electorate were thinking "jobs, jobs, jobs" when they voted and not "take away all the state jobs, so even more people are competing for the dwindling private sector openings."

trailertrash 6 years, 7 months ago

If you really want to know what Anthony Brown stands for, just look up Koch Brothers and see what their agenda is for the day....

bks253 6 years, 7 months ago

The proposal I heard was a state employee earning $60,000 would have a 2.5% pay cut; an employee earning $80,000 would have a 5% cut and employees earning $100,000 and above would receive a 7.5% cut. Typical that Republicans want a "sliding scale" for those earning less than $100,000 per year, but no "sliding scale" for those earning more than $100,000. It would be more equitable to cut those earning $100,000, 7.5% (the present plan) and those earning $120,000, 10% and those earning $140,000, 12.5% and so on.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 7 months ago

If fairness were a consideration, they'd raise the income tax on everyone in the state earning over $100.000, and it wouldn't need to be anywhere near 7.5% to achieve the same result as this targeted attack on public employees.

Liberty275 6 years, 7 months ago

"If fairness were a consideration, they'd raise the income tax on everyone in the state earning over $100.000"

How do you arrive at the 100,000 number? Why not 200,000 or 5,000?

If fairness were a consideration and taxes HAD to be raised, they should be raised equally on everyone. Arbitrary numbers are never fair.

notanota 6 years, 7 months ago

Progressive raises are fair. The same arbitrary number for everyone is not. And yes, it's time to raise taxes.

imastinker 6 years, 7 months ago

A percentage of income is progressive.

notanota 6 years, 7 months ago

A percentage of income on a graduated scale is progressive, yes. A flat tax is not. HTH.

Daniel Dicks 6 years, 7 months ago

Often mentioned in the debate over corporate political influence is Koch Industries, a conglomerate with holdings in oil, paper and other interests owned by brothers Charles and David Koch, whose combined net worth is estimated at $44 billion. The longtime conservatives have told supporters that they plan to spend tens of millions of dollars on the 2012 elections, and they have come under attack from Democrats for supporting union-busting Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R). These two Kansans could write a check for $19mil What is in your wallet?

Scott Drummond 6 years, 7 months ago

What is sadder still is that they didn't earn it. They inherited it from their Daddy. Our founding fathers were against an aristocracy, but the forces of conservatism are today very deliberately imposing it upon us.

CreatureComforts 6 years, 7 months ago

Yep, no liberal has ever inherited large money from their parents...

gudpoynt 6 years, 7 months ago

yes, but liberals tend to argue in favor of the estate tax.

Republicans tend to argue against it.

Get laid off, collect a pittance from the Gov't in unemployment, and guess what? You have to pay taxes on it. Many Republicans would just as soon reduce unemployment benefits as much as possible.

However, say you suddenly acquire millions of dollars, not through hard work, but through inheritance. Most Republicans would prefer not to have to pay any taxes on that money whatsoever.

Miniscule handouts from a social safety net, contributed to by all taxpayers should be minimized as much as possible, and then taxed as income.

Inheritance, however, should remain untaxed and limitless.

It's not that Republicans are against receiving handouts. They are just against contributing to handouts for people they don't know.

seriouscat 6 years, 7 months ago

you suddenly acquire millions of dollars, not through hard work, but through inheritance. Most Republicans would prefer not to have to pay any taxes on that money whatsoever

I'm no fan of the current state of things re: taxes and american aristocracy blah blah blah, but part of what bugs me about all the class warfare talk lately is parroting of pseudo facts that thinking people see through in a the one above.

When a person dies and leaves a bunch of money to their progeny, that is money that has already been taxed according whatever the tax rates are during their lifetime. An estate tax is essentially a triple, unrepresented, unconstitutional tax.

Not only that, richie rich doesn't just take it laying down by going oh that durned estate tax! Richie rich changes his/her investment strategies and still manages to bequest Hiltons to the world.

The de-facto aristocracy we are creating in the U.S. is as much the fault of 'liberal' policies as it is 'conservative'. Meaningless words at this point, but I digresssssss

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 7 months ago

"When a person dies and leaves a bunch of money to their progeny, that is money that has already been taxed according whatever the tax rates are during their lifetime."

Actually, for the super rich (who are the only ones to which this tax applies) much of that wealth has never been taxed, or taxed at a very low rate.

Regardless, without the inheritance tax, not only does the government need to tax other, non-wealthy folks at a much higher rate in order to operate, within just a few generations, we will not be just a country with an already extreme concentration of wealth-- we'll become two entirely distinct countries-- one for the superwealthy, and one very miserable, powerless place for the rest of us. (OK, so we may already be there.)

Liberty275 6 years, 7 months ago

The magical koch brothers strike again!!!

"It must be sad people that need that much and more to be happy."

It's even sadder to be green with jealousy.

"What is sadder still is that they didn't earn it. They inherited it from their Daddy"

See above.

Liberty275 6 years, 6 months ago

If not attacking people because they have more money than me, or the fact their father left it to them after he died makes me a fascist stooge, I'll be proud to be a fascist stooge.

As for how much a person should be allowed to have without supervision, can you give us a dollar figure above which we can violate a person's privacy to find out where their money comes from?

LOL, you calling me a fascist is like a pot calling a fine china black.

nomorebush 6 years, 7 months ago

after they cut npr pbs and the nws there might be less rural republicans this fall.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 7 months ago

A $500,000,000 shortfall some claim.

So why are the republicans cutting taxes at the same time? Are they nuts? Perhaps they failed simple math?

Brownback wants to give some new residents a tax abatement for moving to some parts of Kansas? and pay off college loans? Did this man ever attend math classes?

Shardwurm 6 years, 7 months ago

More taxes is always the right answer.

How about you voluntarily send in an extra $1,000 with your tax return if you love them so much?

Didn't think so.

Carol Bowen 6 years, 7 months ago

Merril is talking about more tax cuts not tax increases. Twenty years of tax cuts we could not afford got us into our current budget crisis.

Carol Bowen 6 years, 7 months ago

Candidates should be required to pass a math test to become eligible for office.

bd 6 years, 7 months ago

"Democrats, outnumbered by Republicans 17-6 on the committee, seemed relegated to an observer’s role as the panel worked on a budget for fiscal year 2012"

Don't you just love the bi-partisan effort here???

oldvet 6 years, 7 months ago

As the obomber said... "We don't mind the Republicans joining us. They can come for the ride, but they gotta sit in back."

Gedanken 6 years, 7 months ago

I love these pseudo-quotes. Here is one for you.

As oldvet once said, "I make up random crap to prove a point. I really hope that somebody will take me seriously. Now get off my yard!!!"

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 7 months ago

And even if you want to stick with the metaphor of the Republicans sitting in back, they were clearly screaming quite loudly, right in his ear, and not only did he listen, he heeded their instructions to keep most of us in the ditch so that Wall Street gets to keep their bonuses-- and nearly anything else they want.

MyDogHoudini 6 years, 7 months ago

With the continued erosion of our public education system, under this republican "leadership", all our state residents will have writing and grammar this poor in the future. You can't continue to cut education without suffering consequences.

rjm10215 6 years, 7 months ago

They are whacking away at the wrong end of the totem pole and it’s going to fall over! Did I miss where our representatives are taking any pay cuts or cutting any of their “perks”?

MyDogHoudini 6 years, 7 months ago

My last comment was supposed to be listed after corduroypants comment on poor grammar. I also blame the Republicans for my original comment going to the wrong spot.

Kim Murphree 6 years, 7 months ago

Well, now we know why they don't want public employees to have collective bargaining or unions....

Alceste 6 years, 7 months ago

Read allllllllll about Rep. Pete DeGraaf, R-Mulvane. He's a swell guy. Real stand up American he is.... They call him "Dr. Checkbook".

5,350 voted for him. Swell guy. Because Habitat for Humanity allows him to represent them, No more money to Habitat for Humanity from Alceste and Company.....

sweetiepie 6 years, 7 months ago

Thanks for the link. It really doesn't explain why he is so angry and punitive toward state employees though. And it's very clear that he is angry at state employees, agencies, state services--anything that has to do with state government. Oh wait! Not his salary or that of the legislative staff.

gudpoynt 6 years, 7 months ago

What are you all talking about? In the article, DeGraaf merely says that the support staff exemption is "inappropriate" -- indicating that he's not in favor of special exemptions. What's wrong with that?

I read the Bio on the link provided. Didn't read anything there to sound alarms. What's with some of you people? You seem to be itching to tear someone apart just for the sake of doing so.

sweetiepie 6 years, 7 months ago

I think if you spent much time listening to his comments in committees and on the house floor, you might have a different view of his approach to state government (and state employees).

Kontum1972 6 years, 7 months ago

Ack ...Ack.......making the inter-national sign of the donut ----> O...ACK...ACK....!

pace 6 years, 7 months ago

"But the committee exempted its own legislative staff from the pay cut." smart., one wouldn't want to ask the gal or guy to get you a cup of coffee and have to test it for spit.

question4u 6 years, 7 months ago

"State Rep. Sharon Schwartz, R-Washington, made the motion to remove the legislators' support staff from the proposed pay cut. 'That is the least we can do to show our support," Schwartz said. "I don't see how we can carry on our work without these people,' she said."

As for state employees who do not work for legislators, Schwartz implied that they do not deserve support because the legislature is perfectly capable of carrying on without those people. After all, government should exist mainly to perpetuate itself. We can always find new engineers, teachers, scientists, accountants, etc. to work for the state at pay significantly lower pay than that in the private sector, but it would be foolish to be stingy with the pay of legislators' support staff.

After all, Schwartz implies, what do state engineers do for us? Inspecting state buildings for safety, protecting state water rights, etc. are nothing compared to the fine work of our legislative support staff. And those people in the state Department of Agriculture? How does ensuring the safety of the food supply stack up next to the absolutely crucial work done by Schwartz's support staff?

If can't use your position in the Kansas House to make exceptions for your own staff, then why would you bother to get elected anyway?

beatrice 6 years, 7 months ago

Absolutely. These people should be run out of town on a rail.

sciencegeek 6 years, 7 months ago

I'm glad that somebody jumped on the most blatant hypocrisy in the whole article. They cut the pay of anyone who DOESN'T work for THEM!! How can you let that pass? How incredibly hypocritical can legislators be? And they do it with a straight face!!

How can any of these people be re-elected?!!

Alceste 6 years, 7 months ago

By Golly....they're a lot of familiar surnames who work as "support staff" for the Legislature; Names like Graves and Hayden are but two examples. There's a LOT of BIG MONEY being paid to those "staff" too. See for yourself:

There's a bunch of "Chief of Staff" types too....whatever that is. This Michael White fellow raked in almost $90,000.00 for 2010 . This "Brent Hayden" fellow was right behind White, again, at almost $90,000.00 for 2010. It appears that only about 21 or so people benefit from the "exemption". Wow.

Alceste 6 years, 7 months ago

Woops....wait up there a second.....what is the Legislative Coordinating Council? Oh has some big money incomes too.....this boy name of Jeffrey Russell got himself a lottery winnings pay of $96,199.12 for 2010. How'd he do that?!

Then there is this outfit called the Legislative Research Department. I wonder what that is? Well, that outift got itself a person name of Alan Conroy who got himself $115,215.90 for 2010. What"s so difficult with what he does? Or, has it been who he has known? I dunno.

See for yourself by accessing the link above...

junco_partner 6 years, 7 months ago

Paycut for State workers in todays article. Yesterday there was an article saying they were considering increasing how much state workers have to contribute to KPERS.

Even though the KPERS increase isn't a paycut it means you will be taking home less, so it is effectively a paycut. Combine this with rising food/gas prices and well you do the math....

gudpoynt 6 years, 7 months ago

Goodbye franchise tax.

Goodbye corporate property tax on machinery and equipment.

Goodbye corporate income tax, in the near future.

Hello $500+ Million decrease in tax revenues.

Hello recession and welcome to our financial "crisis".

And now, the moment we've all been waiting for.... I am pleased to introduce....

Funding cuts to public education! Funding cuts for social services! Salary cuts to middle class state employees!

Kansans! Please! Wake! Up!

Throughout this "crisis", taxes on businesses, large and small, continue to go down.

It's time we started looking at who benefits most from these tax cuts, and whether those benefits outweigh the cost of cuts to public education, social services, and wages of middle class state employees.

I've looked at it, and from what I can see, the benefits of these tax cuts help a relatively small group of businesses, while the same amount of money taken from public education, social services, and public employee salaries, has a much broader, and much more negative effect.

I implore the rational right to start using some of that down-home common sense with which they so often identify.

Dave Trabert 6 years, 7 months ago

Consideration of employee pay cuts might not be an issue if agencies seriously looked at how they spend money. I'm not endorsing pay cuts - just saying that if agencies would step up with ideas of their own to reduce spending, this idea might not be on the table. State agencies spend hundreds of millions of dollars on things that could be curtailed or eliminated without really impacting services. Travel, advertising, overtime, dues and subscriptions and printing are just a few examples. When was the last time a full communications audit was conducted to see how much those costs could be reduced? State employees pay a much lower percent of their health care than private sector counterparts; a KansasWatchdog story last fall found the state could save at least $30 million per year by having employees pay at the national average. (Full disclosure - I work for Kansas Policy Insitute which is a sponsor of Kansas Watchdog; not trying to hide anything, which is why I post under my real name.)

The potential cost reductions listed above are the type of things that efficiency advisory boards would look into but unfortunately state employee groups openly oppose the establishment of independent advisory panels. Wouldn't it be better to find ways to operate more efficiently than to reduce pay?

svenway_park 6 years, 7 months ago

KPI. The Koch quasi-think-tank. The group that identified "idle balances" last year(which are being held for committed obligations, like bond repayments) as a source for education money. And they said it with a straight face, which indicates they are either 1) stupid, or 2) deceptive.

Let me repeat: Koch. 'Nuf said

Dave Trabert 6 years, 7 months ago

The carryover balances we identified did not include bond payments, capital outlay or any committed obligations. The total in those 'all other' funds rose from $458 million in FY 2005 to $775 million in FY 2010. The Dept. of Eduation and the Office of the Revisor have both since said that the majority of that amount is either immediately available, can be accessed by putting less into each fund than is needed (and spending down a portion of the balance) or could be made available for transfer with legislative authority.

Even school districts have said they put some of the money aside in anticipation of funding changes. Now would be a good time to use some of that money as originally intended.

Grant_Runyun 6 years, 7 months ago

What power do state employee groups have to stop such measures?

pace 6 years, 7 months ago

recall petition, vote 2012. Employees don't have a lot of power. They go to work, they do their job. sometimes a boss or the public says thank you sometimes the boss stabs you in the back, picks your pocket and gives your money to multi billionairs. One can pray. One can quit, one can keep doing the job, get less money and go home and enjoy the back yard. what I do is when I see an ad from "citizens against government waste" slamming the health care reform, I make a note that the groups should be called "Tobacco heirs against health care reform"

Grant_Runyun 6 years, 7 months ago

Let me clarify: It was a rhetorical question aimed at Mr. Trabert. He seems to blame state employees groups for opposing the implementation of his idea. This is, at best, a humerous notion since state employee groups have no power beyond being a group of Kansas citizens with the same power all Kansas citizens have. It is, at worst, yet another atempt to demonize hard working, middleclass Americans.

Alceste 6 years, 7 months ago


I have a degree of endorsement for what you write. However, it's quite clear you're a tad bit INSULATED from the way these "agencies" hire and promote: They do NOT seek the thinking individual in any way, shape, or form. They seek the head bobber they know will always endorse what "The Man" (agency BossMan) wants and thinks. TRY thinking "out of the box" and you end up on the street, unemployed AND blacklisted.

You people over there at the Kansas Policy Institute have no real clue just how deep and wide this pervasive pattern of bullying is, either. Let me remind you, as well, that it's the POLITICAL PROCESS that finds and locates "Agency Directors": They're all Executive appointees who in turn apoint their own group of cronies and woe be the Civil Servant who dares to even attempt to "think" differently or incorporate concepts and "new ways of doing things" that have come from other locales, states, or God forbid, countries.

Again, lest we not forget, These state "Agencies" are ALL controlled by Political Hacks who got done a deal. Take a look at the SRS head hack; take a look at the Secy. of Labor Head Hack; take a look at the Dept. of Administration Head Hack. Etc.

The Dept. of Administration had the temerity during it's KQM (Kansas Quality Management) purge to put on the front page of their book with this quote from Einstein: “We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” Right. Step forward with an idea and get terminated. It's going to be even easier to get fired these days, too.

Kansas is safe, however: Most state staffers are so cowed, they've no idea what thinking is anyway. We get what we deserve.

Alceste 6 years, 7 months ago

Frankly, I didn't think the poster Dave_Trabert would have the courage to step forward and own that those that pay him are, in fact, the very heads of the state Agencies he was warbling on about. shrug


xyz 6 years, 7 months ago

So, Dave, how efficient is your employer, Kansas Policy Institute? I'd bet that you haven't worked at KPI for 20 years making $40,000 a year and facing a 2.5% pay cut.

And FYI, your employer's State Government Pay and Benefits Database does not even include all state agencies. A useful addition to the database would be the number of years that each employee has worked for the state. An analysis of compensation by years of service could assist Alceste in making more factual posts (see 10am). Or maybe if Alceste had a clue, he/she would just quit posting!

Dave Trabert 6 years, 7 months ago

Which state agencies are missing? We requested a list of every state employee's earnings record so they should all be there. Of course, that would not include boards or commissions that have no paid staff.

notanota 6 years, 7 months ago

So what's your salary? Do we get to see it listed somewhere?

anatha 6 years, 7 months ago

Length of service isn't included under the Open Records Act. The average Classified employee makes ~$38,000 with 14 years of service and is 47 years old. Unclassified is ~$61,000 with 12 years of service. (2010 Workforce Report)

Alceste 6 years, 6 months ago

I don't care how many years people have worked to "deserve" a $70,000.00 per year paycheck in this hillbilly, backwater state! It would be "fun", though, because than I could figure out how much "longevity bonus" the person gets....Me thinks a certain poster is one of the high dollar paid political hack types?

Mary Sucha 6 years, 7 months ago

What the 12 yes voters in this committee did was a deliberate attack on state employees. If they want a 7.5% reduction in SGF funding at agencies, just do what all other budget committee's have done, reduce the agencies SGF funding. Let the agency figure out how to reduce their budgets.

When is KPI going to look at the real waste in state government. Contracts with private vendors. All the stuff you mentioned above is chicken feed compared to the wasteful overpayment to certain state vendors.

Dave Trabert 6 years, 7 months ago

It may well be 'chicken feed' by comparison but it still adds up to a great deal of money. We'd love to examine contracts with private vendors. If you know of any particular contracts you think should be examined, either post them here or call me at 316-634-0218.

notanota 6 years, 7 months ago

If you'd like to list any other Koch influenced propaganda machines besides Kansas Policy Institute and Kansas Watchdog, which you've already listed, please continue to post them here as well.

notanota 6 years, 7 months ago

If it isn't our favorite little Koch mouthpiece.

notanota 6 years, 7 months ago

I'd merely like to see them pay their fair share of taxes and have their network of political influence exposed to daylight. If they endorse a candidate, they should publicly endorse him or her instead of relying on cat's paws like the Kansas Policy Institute, American's for Prosperity, Kansas Watchdog, etc.

pittstatebb 6 years, 7 months ago

Dave - what is your take on the per capita expenditure by the State of Kansas. Do you believe that it is too high, too low or just right (especially in comparision to regional states)? I know that you have read/investigated the Bureau of Economic Analysis study that has KS public workers ranked 49/51 for average pay. Do you think they should make less, more, or are they making the right amount?

Dave Trabert 6 years, 7 months ago

This is a much longer discussion than would fit in the space allotted here but I'll try to hit the major points. Generally, comparisons of per capita expenditures across state lines have limited value. Every state has a different mix of services they provide and there are many different ways that service deliveries are split between state and local governments. Even setting those differences aside, there is no way of knowing how efficient or inefficient other states perform, so at best, you can only get a measure of relative efficiency.

The 'right' per capita expenditure is not based on what other governments spend but on what it needs to be in order to achieve the state's long term economic goals. Here's an example of what I mean. Suppose I’m in a retail business and I’m trying to attract customers from a competitor. Matching the lowest price might work in some cases, but often you have to do better than matching competitors’ deals to make it worthwhile for a customer to change loyalty.

Government spending largely dictates tax policy, so you have to understand your tax burden position relative to your competitors. Kansas has a pretty uncompetitive combined state and local tax burden, being ranked #19 by the Tax Foundation and getting worse (we were #23 a year ago). That #19 ranking is based on 2009 data and since then we’ve had about a $500 million increase in sales, unemployment and property taxes. Jobs and population have been migrating away from higher burden states so even if our per capita expenditures were the same as regional states, we’ll likely continue to suffer economic stagnation.

The government employee pay rankings combined state and local governments. And while that combination ranked #49, remember that the number was still higher than that of the full private sector. The ‘right’ number (in my opinion) is not based on a comparative ranking to other governments but to comparable jobs in the private sector.

That said, if memory serves, state employees were ranked somewhere in the 30s; it was the state and local government combination that was #49. And the primary reason local government is low is that Kansas has an extratordinarily high number of small governments with very small staffs that bring down the averages.

There’s a lot more to discuss on both issues. Give me a call if you like at 316-634-0218.

pittstatebb 6 years, 7 months ago

Thank you for your reply Dave. While I tend to agree about our tax policy having the potential to drive jobs away, saying on one hand you cannot compare per capita spending between states while saying you can compare tax rates between states has a disingenuous feeling to it (even if it is factually correct).

Also, in the suvey sited about average public employee pay, Kansas public employees were below private employee average (yes I know the methodology may not have been perfect, but again I am getting that weird feeling).

In the end I have to give you credit for candidly debating a very volitile subject with facts and common sense and without a lot of rhetoric and name calling.

Now if KPI can help elect some conservative house members with the same common sense and dignity (not the radical, grandstanding ones we currently have) we might be better off in the end.

notanota 6 years, 7 months ago

First off, when I look it up on their website, it ranks Kansas as 35 for state business tax index. South Dakota, ranked number 1, is hardly a thriving state for economic activity. Do you have any evidence this index actually creates jobs or stimulates growth? We can look at pretty charts all day long, but I like a little evidence behind my economic policy, especially when it means we're shortchanging the education of children and care of our disabled.

Secondly, you're quoting yourself by citing the Tax Foundation. It's yet another Koch owned propaganda machine, not a neutral source.

Dave Trabert 6 years, 7 months ago

The state business tax rank of 35 means it is the 15th worst. That is just the business tax index. The ranking I referenced is the combined state and local tax burden, which says Kansas has the 19th worst. The impact of tax burdens on job creation is very clear. We looked at private sector job creation between 1998 and 2008 (Kansas employment peaked in 2008) and compared the ten states with the lowest combined tax burden to the ten states with the highest burdens. The high burden states had 7% job growth, the national average was 7.8% and the low burden states had 14.6% job growth. Then we extended it another two years (1998 to 2010) to see how each group's performance was impacted by the recession. The high burden states were only 1.0% ahead of their 1998 employment level, the national average was up 1.2% and the low burden states were 8.5% ahead. Low burden states outperformed high burden states by a 2:1 margin over ten years and by a 7:1 margin over twelve years. Kansas has fewer private sector jobs than we did in 1998. South Dakota is actually one of the BEST performing states, with 11.5% job growth over the last twelve years. South Dakota is up 11.5% while Kansas is down 1.2%. Again, pretty strong evidence that their #1 business tax ranking is having an impact.

The data that he non-partisan Tax Foundation uses is government data.

notanota 6 years, 7 months ago

Don't be so bashful about your employer's other propaganda machines. The Tax Foundation may bill itself as non-partisan 503(c), but that's only because they don't care who gives them tax cuts. They've been owned by the Kochs since 1989. Citing government data sources in your propaganda doesn't make it a legitimate source of unbiased information, as you well know.

For instance, can you give me that data for South Dakota's job growth and unemployment rate and include that of the Native American population living on reservations in that figure? I suspect the job growth wouldn't look quite that hot when you include the counties with 80% unemployment rates.

Furthermore, even with all that data, you still need to tie correlation to causation. You're throwing figures at me but not showing actual proof that the tax policies were the single driving factor for growth and not that growth wasn't the driving factor for tax policy. For instance, when you have natural resources or a thriving tourist industry, you can pass those savings on to your citizens with taxes on tourism or oil.

I'd argue that lower corporate taxes are a disincentive to job creation. You pay taxes on profits, so you want to lower your profits to lower your tax liability. One way to do that is with increased labor costs. Now if you have NO corporate taxes, all that labor is just a cost, so it's better to avoid hiring for as long as possible. Meanwhile, the state's cost of having that business is not zero, particularly if it's an industry with environmental impacts.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 7 months ago

"State agencies spend hundreds of millions of dollars on things that could be curtailed or eliminated without really impacting services. Travel, advertising, overtime, dues and subscriptions and printing are just a few examples."

Nothing wrong with continually monitoring expenses by state agencies and employees, but I think this is mostly just a cheap-shot, straw-man argument.

"State employees pay a much lower percent of their health care than private sector counterparts;"

But their income is also lower than in the private sector. Would you be OK with raising their incomes to match the private sector in conjunction with your proposal to increase their payments for health insurance to match what is (purportedly) paid there?

Dave Trabert 6 years, 7 months ago

I would be fine with comparable jobs in government and private sector getting the same complete pay package, including compensation, retirment, health care, paid time off and job security - and so would at least 85,000 Kansans who lost their jobs over the last three years. By comparison, relatively few state workers have been let go, their retirment package is far superior, they pay much less for health care and according the state pay study, most receive at least the same pay as comparable private sector workers. Maybe not all, but most.

Randy Leonard 6 years, 7 months ago

OK Dave, how about this. I am a Professional Engineer. I worked for the state for 13 years and left for the private sector in 1999 where I saw an increase in total compensation of 15%. In 2007 I returned to state employment due to family concerns that brought me back to Topeka. The position I accepted was a step up the career ladder in job duties and responsibility. I took a 25% cut in total compensation. My health care plan with the state is no better that in my private sector position. If you use the widely quoted long term return on investment of 7% my 401k plan, which by the way included a contribution by my employer, would have provided a retirement income comparable to or better than KPERS. I have one more holiday with the state than in the private sector. The company I left has reduced their employees hours and gone to a 32 hour work week, but even then I would still be earning 7% more than am earning with the state. I manage contracts with private firms whose project managers earn from 150% of my salary to as much as 290% of my salary. In most cases these are people with less experience and knowledge in the field than me. This is the case with most of the professional positions with the state. I am not the exception to the rule.

notanota 6 years, 7 months ago

So why not work to make sure private sector employees get better packages instead of working to cut pay and benefits for public sector employees?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 7 months ago

What I hear from you is a Koch brothers' mouthpiece telling us that "we" are broke, so everyone but the wealthy must pay through the nose.

What I don't hear from you is any appreciation for the work that state workers do. What I hear is the demand to punish them because the Koch brothers, et al, have already punished private workers in order to keep their stock portfolios humming along.

What I don't hear from you is any suggestion to fix what broke this in the first place-- namely, massive corruption on Wall Street, or $billions wasted on a mind-numbingly bloated military-industrial complex, among many other things.

And what are the Koch brothers doing about the massive environmental destruction of the water and air created by the process of "fracking" to mine for natural gas? Do they bear any responsibility the millions, perhaps even billions, of acres of land that may very well be destroyed for human habitation, for perhaps decades, if not longer? Will they clean up the water supplies that have been contaminated for millions of people downstream?

Kim Murphree 6 years, 7 months ago

Instead of forcing workers to pay more who work for the state...I think the private companies should follow the state employee model....I just believe that taking $$$ away from those who are struggling already should be the LAST thing we do--for the economy and for the people of our state. Just because a company gives less does not mean that everyone should follow suit--keep in mind that the less workers have to spend in the economy, the less business will survive, which means we lose jobs, and the cycle continues. So, before you focus on increase costs to workers and less $$$ for them, why not cut back on services, cut back on top elected salaries, and stop giving huge tax breaks and tax cuts to coporations or at the very least attach tax cuts for corporations to job creation in the state of Kansas?

Kim Murphree 6 years, 7 months ago

Here's what these bozos don't get--you increase health insurance payments (rather than regulating the industry so it can't charge so much), you increase payments for retirement, and cut wages--while gasoline prices soar (and tax payer money supports that industry) which makes food prices go up---WHO is going to BUY from the businesses that are the sacred cows of this state administration? No regulation on business--no living wage...and now cuts for families struggling to make ends meet already. How does it make sense? The people LOSING their wages are the CONSUMERS that drive the so-called "free market." If there is no money to buy, that engine will come to a screeching HALT. Please tell me how this will produce jobs and a better economy? People will lose homes, cars, and the kids will have a lesser education which means even less chance for a higher paying job--but then, maybe that's the real more middle class...just masters of industry and poor workers...really? Is that how we want Kansas to look?

tomatogrower 6 years, 7 months ago

They don't care. They can sell their products to people in China. There are lots of people in China now with disposable income. They could care less if how we in the US are living, so if you didn't go to business school and become an executive in a big company, or you haven't invested in these big companies you get to join the poor. They don't really care about you.

Kim Murphree 6 years, 7 months ago

Yes...I think we all are beginning to get that picture...then again, there are those out there who will vote for these people again just because they always vote Republican and don't want to listen to the issues--that's how these people get into power, and that is a shame.

Crazy_Larry 6 years, 7 months ago

For the last 4 years the State of Kansas has been implementing a 'market adjustment' pay raise for certain under-paid state employees, i.e. engineers, scientists, etcetera; and now they want to take it all back! Let's see, increases to health insurance, increases to KPERs contributions, and now a pay cut too boot! Balancing the budget on the backs of state workers (the minority). BALDERDASH AND POPPYCOCK! Why is it up to state employees to take the hit? In a state of 3-million-plus people it's up to 38,000 state employees to make a sacrifice? Why not increase taxes on everyone in the state? And why is it that legislative staff are exempt from this paycut? BALDERDASH AND POPPYCOCK! I've had all I can stands and I can't stands anymore!

Crom, I have never prayed to you before. I have no tongue for it. No one, not even you will remember if we were good men or bad, why we fought, or why we died. No, all that matters is that the Republicrats and Democans have sold the state, and country, down the river. Few stood against many, that's what's important. Valor pleases you, Crom, so grant me one request, grant me REVENGE! And if you do not listen, then the hell with you!

Redbeard, firebeard, bringer of lightning, Lifegiving stormlord are you, lover of feasting, Father of freedom, fighter most doughty, Donar, defender, dearly we need thee, Hear us, hero, hasten to help us,

The forests echo with prayers in the night. The sound of grinding steel is heard. We breathe the silence before the storm, Awaiting the final word, We are ready for war...

Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori, (is sweet and glorious to die for their country) We're fighting for our people who are yearning to be free. The great halls of Valhalla, free me from this earthly maze, No escape from Odin's everlasting gaze.

The sun opens my drowsy eyes, the wind breathes in my face. I'd rather lie here in the grass, in this peaceful place. Battle orders from above, come from the powers that be. I'll fight till death and show these dogs we Vikings never flee.

Death and destruction, we'll reap the whirling wind. I'll close my eyes and think not of this war we're fighting in.

Behold our godly might. We'll bring Thor's Hammer down. United we stride and make a stand. Before we rest down in the ground.

Invaders, usurpers, Leave now from this land! War's the only tongue you understand, so that is what shall be...

Hail Odin Master of Fury: Primal and uncontained: dictated by necessity. May i persevere, unrepressed, in adversity. My Your Valkyries find me worthy When the web of my life is cut.

Lo, there do I see my Father.. Lo, there do I see my Mother And my Sisters and my Brothers.. Lo, there do I see the line Of my people back to the beginning.. Thay do bid me to take my place among them.. In the Halls of Valhalla, Where the Brave may live forever.

Patria o muerte!

Rah, rah, fight the power!

Kim Murphree 6 years, 7 months ago

Wow...did somebody PUMP YOU UP Ahhnold?

CreatureComforts 6 years, 7 months ago

Your post is too long so I skipped 90% of it, but I support any use of the word "balderdash"

Crazy_Larry 6 years, 7 months ago

Thanks, Ron! Rah, Rah, fight the power!

billbodiggens 6 years, 7 months ago

"State Rep. Sharon Schwartz, R-Washington, made the motion to remove the legislators' support staff from the proposed pay cut. "That is the least we can do to show our support," Schwartz said. "I don't see how we can carry on our work without these people," she said. " . . . . But the rest of the state is expendable? ? ? Oh well, they will do what they did last year. They tried to exempt legislative employees and failed when they cut salaris last year. So, they simply delay the bill authorizing the salary cut until after the legislative session was over. That way they avoided having both their salaries and those of their employees which were effectively untouched. This type of thing leads to an every more popular characterization of the legislature being populated by unprincipled brigands.

Jan Rolls 6 years, 7 months ago

How many people does she represent in Washington? Not as many as will be affected by her stupid idea. I hope reapportionment gets her.

jhawkinsf 6 years, 7 months ago

If I were a state employee, I would be so angry that I would become an entrepreneur, start my own business so I could set my own hours. I could set my own wages and benefits. If successful, I could expand my business so I could create jobs for others and set their wages and benefits. Of course, there might be some level of risk involved. I'd have to invest money in this new business, money that I might lose if my private business venture is not successful.
The question I have is this: Are state employees immune from all risk? Should they never feel the pinch when times are tough? The private sector has been hit hard during the current economic downturn. And because of that, there is less revenue going to the state. Should public employees share in the downturn, or should they be exempt from it? I've posted before telling of the problems owning a business. Many responded, saying that's a consequence of going into private ownership. I might reverse the situation; if a state employee does not like the pay cut, let them start their own business.

Crazy_Larry 6 years, 7 months ago

Obscene, no. Hypocritical, yes. No less hypocritical than the state telling business owners that they can't allow smoking, but, hey, we can have smoking in our state casinos! Is it time yet? Can we bring out pitchforks and torches? Just say the word and I'll be there with bells on.

Crazy_Larry 6 years, 7 months ago

Obscenely hypocritical! So much, in fact, that I feel like punching the next legislator I see in their fat face...

Kim Murphree 6 years, 7 months ago

Problem is, they are doing more than sharing....the corporate tax cuts are causing this to why are coporations exempt from the downturn?

Crazy_Larry 6 years, 7 months ago

Many state employees are underpaid to begin with and the state made attempts to rectify the situation in 2008. It would be better to furlough workers rather than make them take cuts in hourly rate of pay.

State of Kansas - New Pay Plans

"In a historic action, the proposal to change the pay plan for State classified employees, including the five-year funding plan to increase wages that have fallen behind the job market, have been approved! This is a monumental event, and employees will see a difference beginning with their paychecks on July 11, 2008."

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 7 months ago

Government is not business. The business of business is not government.

Sure, we can run all government employees off with short-sighted pettiness, but that doesn't get the jobs done they were hired to do, and if they start their own businesses, it won't be to do what they did in their old jobs.

Your post is pretty silly, really.

notanota 6 years, 7 months ago

I think owning a business should involve less risk. It shouldn't be such an expensive hassle to get health insurance, for one thing, and that's probably the biggest risk in the bunch. I freelance part time, and my day job already gets in the way of my self employment. I'd freelance full time if I didn't have to worry about buying insurance or losing my home during a temporary downturn.

However, the constant "I'm suffering, so everyone else has to suffer" is completely the wrong approach. Why not work to bring everyone up instead of kicking everyone down? If we want to encourage private enterprise, why not do so in a practical way. Solve the real problems of small business - seed money, education, and insurance. Don't just cut state wages and expect it to magically translate into a blooming small business based economy.

The argument that we should all share the pain always ignores the fact that cutting spending and expecting state employees to work more for less money doesn't share the pain with anyone but the middle and lower classes. Look at our favorite brothers from Wichita. The Kochs have experienced record profits while laying off employees. Why should they be immune from paying more for the infrastructure that allows them to prosper and takes care of those employees they've laid off? If we want to share the pain, start at the top, and start talking about increasing revenue.

tomatogrower 6 years, 7 months ago

" If we want to encourage private enterprise, why not do so in a practical way. Solve the real problems of small business - seed money, education, and insurance."

Now I see why so many mucky mucks hate the new health care law. If everyone was insured, then that lowly worker with the wife who has a chronic disease could start their own business competing against the jerk boss, or move to a different company, instead of holding on to a lousy job just to keep the insurance. Nice insight.

notanota 6 years, 7 months ago

If insurance were no longer the primary reason to keep a lousy job, they might actually have to start paying better or kicking in some vacation time.

coloradoan 6 years, 7 months ago

Your comments omit some basic differences between the state and private workers. As a current state worker I do not share in the good times, so its strange to share in the bad times, and inappropriate I think. When I was in retail management, we got bonuses and Christmas dinners and ski trips when things were good. In consulting, I reaped the rewards of long days working late into the morning hours. When things went bad in the private sector, I sucked it up, Finally, I decided the idea of eight-to-five workdays, with paid vacations and established longetivity pay increases looked like a good idea. I knew there would be no bonuses, but frozen wages and now cuts-that's a different story. Good grief. Unfortunately, due to some legitimate hard times and some fiscal irresponsibility at the state, that trade doesn't look so good now. But I've got too much time invested.Further, much of what we do does not lend itself to privatization. Just please don't judge every state worker by the worst you have seen; I know and work with many who work very hard

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 7 months ago

Welcome to the new Republican reality of bait-and-switch for state employees.

If you wanted your contracts to be sacrosanct, you should have gone to work on Wall Street and trashed the economy-- you'd still be getting your bonuses.

Randy Leonard 6 years, 7 months ago

Of course state employees should not be immune from all risks, but to use your same argument they should also benefit from the the good times. Through all the years of healthy state revenue state employees did not receive fair raises however taxes were cut for everyone else. It has been at least 15 years since state employees were given raises that kept up with inflation. You can't have both ways, if we have to sacrifice during down times and accept risk like everyone else then we have to be equally rewarded during the good times. A good business owner know this. I constantly hear that government should operate like business, but that has to apply for both the employer and the employee. A good businessman knows the value of a good employee and is willing to pay competitively or he is likely to not be in business too long.

sweetiepie 6 years, 7 months ago

You are making the assumption that state employees have money to invest in their own businesses. And given that many of them are already at below market wages, it's unlikely that they do. Being angry doesn't get anyone the startup money they need.

I guess that not getting a raise for years (while paying higher insurance and KPERS--not to mention dealing with higher gas and food prices) doesn't count as "feeling the pinch." I guess doing the work of two people year after year (because of hiring freezes and holding positions open to have enough money to pay the rent) doesn't count as "feeling the pinch." State employees "have been hit hard" too. Saying that they haven't shared in the downturn just shows that you've bought into the legislators' attempt to turn our attention away from the real issues (like their rampant spending in pre-crash days). Don't be fooled. They got us into this mess and no amount of blaming state employees or spending hours meddling in people's business (by focusing on social issues) will get us out of it.

Kim Murphree 6 years, 7 months ago

As for the comment about being entreprenuers---there seems to be a lack of respect for those who do work as state or public employees...and I wonder where that comes from? If there were enough money out there for small business people to survive, I am sure some of these folks would head out...but under the current economic situation, there is little support for small businesses---that doesn't seem to be on the state agenda...alhough they touted support for small businesses as part of their campaigns---so, once again, here we are making war on hardworking people instead of holding corporations and their legislative counterparts the $$$ needed to support middle class working famlies, once again is the target---war on the middle class--public employee we go.

Crazy_Larry 6 years, 7 months ago

It's happening across America. OH, WI, MI, TN, etcetera. Wake up Amurikkka!

jhawkinsf 6 years, 7 months ago

There are two rules in business: Rule # 1 is that the customer is always right. Rule # 2 is that if the customer is wrong, refer to rule # 1. I'd like to see that attitude in government departments. What we get is a bureaucracy that treats taxpayers like they couldn't care less. I've gone to DMV, county clerks, etc. and seen workers moving at a snail's pace. I'll support public sector workers getting Cadillac health care and pensions when I see them deferring their break from when it's busy to a time when it's less busy. Police, firemen, teachers, fine. But the clerks at government offices, no.

pittstatebb 6 years, 7 months ago

That is not the rule of business. I sleep with a small business owner every night. A business always takies a calculated risk in angering a customer, but they do it none the less. There are many cases where my spouse has simply told the customer "I am sorry, but we can no longer help you" and sent them to a competitor. They do this because they will save money by not have that person as a customer (and usually the customer is such a nutcase that they do not worry about the customer bad mouthing them).

jhawkinsf 6 years, 7 months ago

I didn't mean it to be taken as gospel. It's like a rule of thumb. My point is that when going to the DMV or county clerk's office, I'm treated like an inconvenience. I've yet to be treated like a cash paying customer even though I do give them money. I've never seen them quicken the pace when it's busy. My motto in business has always been the two rules above. Their motto is "good enough for government work".

notanota 6 years, 7 months ago

Ah yes. Let's punish all state workers because you had a bad day at the DMV.

notanota 6 years, 7 months ago

I know it's a stereotype, but I've never had a bad day at the DMV. Everyone has been perfectly professional and friendly to me. <--- Is that how all private sector employees behave?

In all seriousness, everyone I've ever met with a customer service job has at some point been angry about an annoying customer, and I've been to plenty of banks, burger joints, and bistros htat had rude help every once in a while.

The DMV is a small portion of what state employees do, but if you've met someone there who is rude, complain to their supervisor. I'm sure they have them, and I'm sure they can get fired for consistently being a-holes to everyone.

Randy Leonard 6 years, 7 months ago

Did you ever think that maybe they were rude or badmouthed Kansas residents because they are feed up with the way they are treated and badmouthed by the Kansas residents?

tomatogrower 6 years, 7 months ago

Unlike businesses, the county clerk and DMV need to work for accuracy, not speed. Quite frankly I've been impressed with the methods they have created to stream line some of the things they have to do.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 7 months ago

That rule is absurd, and few people in business (including myself) actually follow it.

Most of the time, customers don't know the business as well as the business owner does, which is why they came to you in the first place. One of the primary tasks of an ethical business is to educate customers on what they need to know to make a properly informed choice.

If this is done properly, most customers appreciate it, and the process goes forward to everyone's satisfaction.

But sometimes that doesn't happen, for a variety of reasons, which requires a small business owner to develop a thick skin that allows the transaction to be completed even if the relationship is less than ideal.

But a thick skin is sometimes no antidote to the unreasonable demands of an unreasonable customer, and a business owner needs to be able to recognize when it's better to cut losses and tell them to go away.

deskboy04 6 years, 7 months ago

Why exempt the support staff? Because they are important! The rest of the state employees are unimportant? This makes no sense.

Legislators aren't willing to share in the pain? I guess not, they have spent millions on remodeling the building they work in.

irvan moore 6 years, 7 months ago

state workers who make 40K plus and voted republican gotta feel really stupid about now.

Jan Rolls 6 years, 7 months ago

I agree. They drank the cool aid thinking that I'll be alright because I voted for them. Instead all they got was bend over.

windex 6 years, 7 months ago

stund, any chance we could ask you to go off and learn how to read and write (also spell, type and think) and then come back? Dude, you don't contribute anything.

rgh 6 years, 7 months ago

Those who voted in favor of not cutting legislative staff are hypocrites and need to be out! If you cut one state employee then cut them all. Legislators should start by taking a huge cut themselves not some piddly amount to make it look good to the public.

yankeevet 6 years, 7 months ago

Whew!! that leave us out.......................sometimes it pays to make less..........

irvan moore 6 years, 7 months ago

anyone who voted for this is a member of the grinch family, it's just plain mean spirited, lots of other places to make cuts, vote 'em out!

love2fish_ks 6 years, 7 months ago

Why isn't Barbara Ballard showing any leadership and making suggestions. She has the entire resources of KU at her disposal to come up with a solid plan. Instead,she sits on he sidelines and snipes at both sides. She has a PHD. So disappointing.

This is the time to show leadership. IF she would step forward at this time she would stand a good chance to knock off Bronnieback at the next election.

notanota 6 years, 7 months ago

She's done nothing but show leadership, but she might as well be talking to a petulant child with their fingers stuck in their ears. In fact, that's exactly the image I have of some of her fellow elected officials.

I've seen half a dozen suggestions she's made that have fallen on (intentionally) deaf ears.

Sparko 6 years, 7 months ago

And what is you do? Are you paid by the post? All jobs are "moocher" jobs. It is called an economy. This is exactly the kind of Koch-speak sock puppetry that offends the true meaning of the First amendment. Class wars much? What country are you from? Pitting the Middle Class against each other and the poor, doing the bidding of the rich. Rinse. Repeat.

Randy Leonard 6 years, 7 months ago

lawrenceguy40 you are an idiot. Do you think things like roads, police and fire protection, sewers, and all the other service provided by government are free? How is it mooching to provide a service for a fee? That is all taxes are are fees paid for a service. How do you make a living? It's people like you that are the problem.

newmath 6 years, 7 months ago

use the to look at the old purchasing web site for the state. You will see contract 06361 and attached to it is a spreadsheet with the rates for tons of contractors/consultant services that the state had. Many of these are over $100 an hour, some over $300 an hour. How the heck can the state say that state employees are overpaid, it obviously is contractors/consultants doing work for the state that are overpaid and wasting HUGE tax dollars. Hire cheap staff, not outrageously expensive consultants. I had to use the because the new contracts don't list the rates, got to wonder why

bopro 6 years, 7 months ago

So Sharon do you think your Legilative staff can put on some old cloths come out of the office and do the jobs needed to keep the State running on the ground. All those little jobs that require men and women to get dirty with very little thanks other than a small pay check. Do they not desirve the same consideration .

olddognewtrix 6 years, 7 months ago

One wonders if Speaker Oneal's wife who has a cushy state job falls into the categorey of"support staff"

naturalist 6 years, 7 months ago

  1. At this point it's only a proposal from the same near-sighted committee that wanted to cut out the Kansas Arts Commission. 2.Why not propose furloughs rather than pay cuts? It would keep the base salaries, which haven't received raises in a couple of years, where they are. And to those who think state employees are paid too much, fact is most are paid less than equivalents in private sector. They just might receive better benefits, however.
  2. Why can't some of the shortfall come from corporations who have been given huge tax breaks while reaping big profits?

Sparko 6 years, 7 months ago

Well, this is a tax increase for state workers. The other tax increases will be passed to the middle class as well. It is funny how republicans run on "tax cuts." They have left a devastated middle class and economy in their wake across the country. It is just staggering. Sadly, they have a lot of sock puppets here. Kansas needs to wake up and vote these idiots out.

liar 6 years, 7 months ago

I haven't heard any state employee say they're better than anyone else. It's a job that needs doing. If you think it's ok to push people around and belittle them your probably in love with these folks.

jafs 6 years, 7 months ago

That's just not true.

Many people, including myself, are concerned with all of the things you mention in the private sector, and have posted about that.

Those who are concerned about the average working person are equally concerned about public and private sector employment.

The fact is that the current model seems to be to protect those at the top while hurting those in the middle and bottom, in both sectors - I don't like it in either one.

windex 6 years, 7 months ago

Sorry, none2. There is a difference.

Public sector jobs: police, fire, education, infrastructure, some health care. These are the things we cannot afford to live without.

Private sector jobs: restaurants, retail stores, manufacturing, agriculture, some health care. These are awfully nice to have but less essential to the preservation of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness than are the public sector jobs.

notanota 6 years, 7 months ago

The difference is that we can choose to keep jobs in the public sector during difficult economic times, but we can't legislate the private sector into not laying people off. In fact, not laying off or slashing wages for public sector employees helps prevent layoffs in the private sector, because it doesn't further depress spending.

jafs 6 years, 6 months ago

Of course.

The best approach would be to identify what caused the current problems, and prevent them from happening again.

notanota 6 years, 6 months ago

Actually, I think Sprint's going to make out like a bandit with unlimited 4G if they play their cards right, since Verizon and AT&T charge tiered access, but that's neither here nor there. The company is only taxed on profits, not reserve cash, from what I understand. So the argument that corporate tax hikes would spiral them further downward wouldn't apply.

Nevertheless, Sprint is not the single source of revenue in this state. We have the income of its wealthiest employed citizens to look at, too.

jafs 6 years, 6 months ago

Actually, given the current broad interpretation of the commerce clause, I wonder if we could in fact legislate more about how private business operates.

liar 6 years, 7 months ago

Call it what it is please. A tax increase for state workers. Good old Republicans. They can always be relied upon to contradict their own beliefs e.g. cut taxes. Oh sure, they cut taxes to business (their paymasters). As for the working man and woman, who gives a toss. They deserve to struggle and see their standard of living fall year after year. Who voted for these clowns?

Randy Leonard 6 years, 7 months ago

It is effectively a tax increase on a select group of people. State employees are forced to contribute more to run the government than the rest of the citizens. As long as they are expected to perform the same work and provide the same level of service and they are the only ones paying it is a tax increase. You can deny it from here to eternity if it makes you feel better, but that does not change the truth.

jafs 6 years, 6 months ago

Except that if the government is the employer, then they get to keep the money they don't pay the employees.

Whereas in private sector jobs, it isn't the government that keeps the money.

That's why it's analogous to a tax hike.

notanota 6 years, 7 months ago

The increased required payments to KPERS is a tax hike. The proposed cut in public employee pay is a pay reduction. Lucky public employees get to experience both! Well, unless they're legislative support staff, because everyone knows those people are too important, unlike social workers, firefighters, and teachers.

voevoda 6 years, 7 months ago

If state employees can afford to take a pay cut, then Kansans earning more than $250,000 per year can afford to shoulder a similar tax increase.
If the state faces such a crisis that it can't afford to cover its payroll and maintain basic services, then it's time for well-to-do Kansans to step up to the plate and do more. The state needs money; they have the disposable income. Throughout this whole crisis, they haven't suffered one bit. They won't even miss the extra money. But for ordinary wage-earners in the public and private sector, even a small pay cut can have devastating effects on their household budget.
Money in the hands of modest-income households goes immediately into the local economy. It helps to sustain jobs and improve the local economy.
Money in the hands of mega-rich households goes disproportionally out of state. It doesn't help Kansas.
So in whose hands should the State of Kansas try to keep money?

beatrice 6 years, 7 months ago

I wonder if state employees and anyone else who sees this as blatant hypocrisy will remember this come next election? I doubt it.

meggers 6 years, 7 months ago

Yep. I wonder if Thomas Frank has started working on a sequel, yet. He's sure getting plenty of material to work with.

Carol Bowen 6 years, 7 months ago

Government employees at all levels are being criticized. The jobs they do are probably important. How would we know? If the tax money does not pay for state employees, it will pay for contractors who need to make a profit. Instead of tearing apart government employees, we should be analyzing the services they provide.

On the other hand, representatives like Sharon Schwartz need first-hand experience with loss of services. That's an expensive way to go. It would cost a bit to restore the lost but needed services. Overall, this is a pretty clumsy budget approach. Our legislature should spend less time on silly legislation and more time analyzing the budget.

yankeevet 6 years, 7 months ago

I tried working; and by the time they took taxes out; and the other stuff; i had barely enough to live on.....I got what little clothes i had from the second hand store; did not matter if they fit; but they were afforable and i did not need much; and i was quite sure my college education was worth it all. Now I live on the street; and make much more money then working; and its tax free; i even bought a new tin cup last week. Hope u walk by me; and donate; i might whislte dixie for you.

true_patriot 6 years, 6 months ago

“That is the least we can do to show our support,” Schwartz said. “I don’t see how we can carry on our work without these people,” she said.

When I first saw the headline about exempting "support staff" I naively thought they'd had second thoughts about gouging the low to middle income Kansans that work hard to make our state run with their low incomes, understaffing and decline of real wages the past few years.

But then I read this lead above and realized how ridiculous that was to assume ethics and responsibility on the part of the current legislature and administration. Corruption and irresponsibility rule the day.

Dsubman 6 years, 6 months ago

It is clear that a lot folks, including our very own Governor, has no clue what State Employees do. A word of advice from a former Navy Submariner: meet the crew Brownback.

You cannot put the blame for our fiscal mess on the backs of the workers in the State and Federal sector-they made a decision early in their careers to trade higher salaries and career advancement for stability. This meant lower wages and a pigeon hole system with no real hope for meaningful career advancement. You sure didn't hear the private sector employees crying about how much the public sector employees were making before the economy went bust. I can asure you it was and still is far less the what you may think. Salaries for State employees are no can look them up online.

You can moan all you want about those in the public sector, but there are plenty of those that are scientists, professional geologists, professional engineers, certified or registered medical technologists most of which are engaged in enforcing State or Federal regulations. If you don't want clean air, clean water, or control of the use radioactive material/devices, then push for the repeal of the statutes and laws that made those employees necessary in the first place and turn the job over to the Federal Government. The regulations will be enforced one way or another. I might add that many State technical positions require a minimum of a B.S. degree. Hard to become a licensed Engineer or Professional Geologist without one.

I sure do not recall seeing private sector folks jumping in line to get these jobs when the economy was good. Universities generally discourage engineers and scientists from going State of Federal because it is effectively a career dead end relative to the private sector. A lot of the folks that work in the regulatory/environmental arena would do their job for free if they didn't have to eat or feed their families (most over the past couple of years have come to the realization that eating is over rated anyway). This is most certainly evident in the way we treat our public school teachers-it must be a Republican thing expecting folks to teach our kids for free...

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