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Should state employees have their wages cut?

Asked at Target, 3201 Iowa St. on January 29, 2011

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Photo of Steven Stewart

“No, I own a business here in town. They are my employee base.”

Photo of Drew Findlay

“My mom’s a state employee, but if it helps balance the budget then sure.”

Photo of Sonya Smith

“I know people it affects in the university community. It affects more than just university employees, but anything with education … I’m just not for it.”

Photo of Amanda Unruh

“I don’t know where they’re going to find the money in the budget, but it’s a bummer for state employees.”

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Comments

kujmom 4 years, 5 months ago

Actually, the only state employees wages that I really think should be cut are those of the Phelps family. They are an embarrassment to the state and I hate the idea that they are on our payroll.

Stuart Evans 4 years, 5 months ago

there's two of you? are you related to KUlaw?

kujmom 4 years, 5 months ago

My chlld doesn't even attend KU anymore, but we are still a fan of the university (and of our child!). I just like to give that KUlaw person a run for his (or her) money. It was disappointing that he didn't try to beat me this time. I would have won!

ru4ku2 4 years, 5 months ago

ya, because seeing the word "first" typed is SUCH a pain in the ass. Get over it

Bill Lee 4 years, 5 months ago

I think state employees paid more than $75,000 a year can cope with the cut, but I think those who make less need what they get now.

handley 4 years, 5 months ago

No because the trickle down effect of what they can buy and of the taxes they pay doesn't help the economy.

Stuart Evans 4 years, 5 months ago

Perhaps we should pay fewer state employees a little more and clean up the waste, redundancy, and overburden that occurs at every level of government.

wysiwyg69 4 years, 5 months ago

Hey moocher, don't be a hater just because some of us like the teat.

Flap Doodle 4 years, 5 months ago

Which option would state employees prefer? Everyone take a 7.5% cut or a bunch of people take a 100% cut?

labmonkey 4 years, 5 months ago

State employees have some excellent benefits that should be rearranged. Don't state employees have a pretty good pension? Perhaps it is time to move them to a 401K based retirement.

Snap makes a good point, but perhaps there are some people who should take a 100% cut (many school administrators for instance).

true_patriot 4 years, 5 months ago

I assume you mean they are tired of their perception that all their money flows into Lawrence from across the state, because in fact that isn't the case at all.

Jay Keffer 4 years, 5 months ago

“No, I own a business here in town. They are my employee base.”

— Steven Stewart, business owner, Lawrence

So Mr. Stewart employs state employees? Bingo - there is your waste - they are getting two paychecks!! I knew there was something fishy going on around here...

Dang gubment.

Thinking_Out_Loud 4 years, 5 months ago

Really, HomeSlice? State employees shouldn't be allowed to moonlight? I infer that for any private sector employee it would be seen as an indicator of initiative and work-ethic, whereas if a State employee does it you see it as someone taking more than their fair share.

It might be nice to have a single standard, here.

true_patriot 4 years, 5 months ago

I thought this state was against raising taxes. This is mathematically identical to raising taxes - taking pay away to fund government.

Then there is the ethical aspect - the large bulk of state workers get paid less than their counterparts in the private sector in good times and don't see large wage increases in the good times when everyone is enjoying better wages and benefits. Then, when times are bad, vital services are cut to the bone and wages are frozen. When times are historically bad, like right now, there is a tendency to want to cut beyond the bone, even when the math teachers and pot-hole fillers and snowplow drivers have already paid the penalty all along.

It's not ethically right nor is it pragmatically sound economic policy to privatize the profits in the good times when private sector pay soars, then shove the losses and the risk onto the public in bad times and cut public sector pay which was held steady or to slight cost-of-living increases back in the good times.

This practice of refusing to look at the revenue (income) side of the equation in hard times while raising taxes on the working class with regressive sales taxes and what in effect are targeted tax increases for a large segment of the working class represents poor leadership by Kansas government and a blatant slavish devotion to the interests of the wealthy elites that contribute so heavily to these politician's campaigns.

MyDogHoudini 4 years, 5 months ago

Excellent post, true patriot. Why does everybody in Kansas ignore the option of taxing the wealthy more? Last time I checked, those making about $35,000 per year pay the same state income tax rate as those making $1,000,000 a year. That's just a shame. A lot of this problem could be solved if people making more money paid slightly more in state tax.

parrothead8 4 years, 5 months ago

There's nothing wrong with acquiring wealth; it's the hoarding wealth that's wrong.

SinoHawk 4 years, 5 months ago

Taxing income does nothing to prevent "hoarding" wealth. It does, however, prevent people from acquiring wealth. People like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett never had high incomes--they had large capital gains.

SinoHawk 4 years, 5 months ago

TP: "I thought this state was against raising taxes. This is mathematically identical to raising taxes - taking pay away to fund government."

Actually no, this is completely the opposite of true. KS is forced to balance its budget, so they are forced to raise taxes or cut expenditures to eliminate the deficit. Raising taxes would be required if expenditures couldn't be cut enough (but would have an adverse effect on the state economy GREATER than the pay reduction of state-employees).

TP: "Then there is the ethical aspect - the large bulk of state workers get paid less than their counterparts in the private sector..."

Public-sector employees make TWICE what private sector employees make at the federal level. Although the KS public-sector employees don't have particularly high wages, the pensions and other liabilities (as well as relative job-security) still make it expensive to employ people.

TP: "It's not ethically right nor is it pragmatically sound economic policy to privatize the profits in the good times when private sector pay soars, then shove the losses and the risk onto the public in bad times and cut public sector pay which was held steady or to slight cost-of-living increases back in the good times."

When times are good, the government (all levels) expands, yet they refuse to contract in the down-times like private companies are forced to. I don't like to see the state employees take it on the nose, but lots of us in the private sector are at risk of losing 100% of our incomes. Those of us fortunate enough to have a high income (not me--yet) often do not have the same degree of career security that public sector employees do.

Dixie Jones 4 years, 5 months ago

Ever been to the capital on a weekday and seen all the state cars we have , That are driven home by state employees DAILY. thats a fringe that could be shaved off and save a little bit of state money. What really burns me is when i see some of these state cars go home the employee goes into the house and come out gets back in the state car and heads to the local groc store,bank, liquor store.

classclown 4 years, 5 months ago

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus (anonymous) replies…

I'm guessing he meant customer base.

=========================================

Is the mistake his or LJW's?

He very well could have mistakenly said it, however with the track record of the latter...

RogueThrill 4 years, 5 months ago

Which is kind of what gets me. I work for KU and would understand decreasing the state's deficit. It would suck, but I would get it. But this cut is nothing more than a tax on a specific group to compensate for previous short sightedness.

yourworstnightmare 4 years, 5 months ago

For all new state contracts for construction and services rendered:

"The State of Kansas can, at any time and without justification, cut the amount of money for which it is liable for services rendered under this contract".

This would bring state contracts for services rendered in line with the contracts that most state employees sign.

And the state should cut all new state contracts by 7.5% automatically.

classclown 4 years, 5 months ago

I'm sorry you have to endure a pay cut, but why do you want everyone else to suffer?

RoeDapple 4 years, 5 months ago

Good to see you're no longer anonymous classclown! Who woulda guessed it?

(♣ Free The Blog! ♣)

;-)

yourworstnightmare 4 years, 5 months ago

I am sorry you contract to clean toilets for the state, but why shouldn't you share in the burden?

nobody1793 4 years, 5 months ago

So if you cut State Trooper's salary, are they more open to bribes?

Richard Heckler 4 years, 5 months ago

The powers that be lay off or terminate employees. What's the point? How does this plan improve the economy? It doesn't!

How does cutting wages improve the economy? It doesn't!

Has laying off,terminating of cutting wages ever stopped tax increases,fee increases or reduced the cost of running city,county or state governments? NO!

Instead of putting lower wage people out of work how about we reduce the wages of all those making more than $75,000 back to $75,000 a year. Most families should be able to live off $75,000 a year. Bring back as many lower wage employees as possible. And don't cut wages.

  1. Also stop annexation. Lay no more water and sewer lines which can run into the millions.
  2. No more new roads or traffic lights which can run into the millions
  3. Instead put government people back to work rebuilding sidewalks,streets and other existing infrastructure.

If there is money in our general funds to expand our tax bills with new infrastructure then there is money to keep people on the payroll and tax dollars flowing back into our economy.

Contrary to popular belief more and more annexation in a bedroom community does nothing but increase our tax bills. Bedroom communities are high tax dollar projects. Topeka, KCMO metro and JOCO are not bedroom communities.

gl0ck0wn3r 4 years, 5 months ago

"Instead of putting lower wage people out of work how about we reduce the wages of all those making more than $75,000 back to $75,000 a year."

Yay for communism. I do find it a bit odd to see Merrill argue against taxes in this post because he regularly argues for regressive taxes.

Richard Heckler 4 years, 5 months ago

How we subsidize annexation,the real estate industry and local builders:

  • building new and wider roads
  • building schools on the fringe
  • extending sewer and water lines to new developments
  • extending emergency services to the fringe
  • direct pay-outs to developers

Small town taxpayers cannot afford this nonsense.

gl0ck0wn3r 4 years, 5 months ago

Yet "small town taxpayers" can afford an expensive bus system and a library expansion? Hypocrite.

Flap Doodle 4 years, 5 months ago

If road maintenance, sewers and emergency services to east Lawrence were cut out of the budget a lot of money could be saved. Not doing that would be dumb and irresponsible!!!

RogueThrill 4 years, 5 months ago

I know you are being sarcastic, but the real problem is over extending ourselves into low density, cheap and crappily built houses in West Lawrence.

I'd be willing to bet that my West Lawrence home will last longer than any of the junk built West of Iowa. I would be willing to double up versus anything West of Kasold.

SinoHawk 4 years, 5 months ago

7.5% is a bit steep, but everyone at my former company was asked to take 5% (on top of staff-reductions). In that regard, 7.5% is a lot better than 100% reduction in income.

jayhawklawrence 4 years, 4 months ago

"I think state employees paid more than $75,000 a year can cope with the cut, but I think those who make less need what they get now."

I agree in principle with this comment. The problem I see is that many of the state employees are underpaid and a smaller percentage are paid very well. There is a tendency always to apply a general percentage over the whole group as somehow being fair.

I don't know where this mind set came from but it exists. Somehow if the wealthier get a bigger cut, it is a crime. The Republicans have used this quite a bit in their arguments.

I am in favor of cutting but not to cut those who are already underpaid.

DanR 4 years, 4 months ago

Work four weeks a year for free. Sure. What, all the qualified/desirable+mobile workers are out of here? Who could've predicted that?????

Flap Doodle 4 years, 4 months ago

Sven, you seem to be avoiding all the threads where someone running for elective office might want to make his opinion known.

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