Letter Writer Decries State Cuts In Seven Days

"What’s unsustainable is not the state labor force; it’s Jobless Jim’s governance."

Jim Douglas is using the economic mess to blackmail state employees [“Fair Game,” January 28]. His “5 percent pay cut” proposal is actually over 14 percent, and he is not promising these give-backs will save any state jobs. State employees offered nearly $20 million in give-backs, but it wasn’t enough.

Look at some of the jobs Douglas is proposing to cut: Reach-Up workers who help people get off welfare; nurses and social workers who provide essential services to our most vulnerable citizens; finance clerks who pay the state’s bills; prison employees, so he can send more prisoners out of state; meat inspectors, knowing the Bush administration has gutted the FDA.

The higher the unemployment rate, the more need for government services.

Gov. Douglas needs to answer these questions: Why are there 30 percent more state managers than when he was first elected? Why were so many managers given merit bonuses? Why does the governor get more money in two weeks for a meal allowance than a family of three on food stamps gets in a month? What did it cost to reorganize, realign and relocate state departments and employees? Why are EDS, UVM and FAHC paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in contracts for work that could be done by state employees at a fraction of the cost? Why are state positions that are fully funded with federal money being cut? What will closing the prison do to the economy in St. Johnsbury?

What’s unsustainable is not the state labor force; it’s Jobless Jim’s governance.
Theresa R. Lefebvre