Letter Writer Reminds Of Governor’s 14% Proposed Cut, Not 5%

"In a state that is listed in the Congressional Quarterly’s State Fact Finder as having one of the top 10 highest "costs of living" in the country, it is unrealistic and unsustainable to ask state employees to take a 14 percent cut in their pay."

Published in the 4/20 Free Press:

According to an article published April 7 in the Times Argus there are currently 60,000 Vermonters living in poverty. Yet Friday, Gov. Douglas proposed to cut 5 percent of the pay of all state employees earning more than $38,000 a year. This cut is on top of freezing all pay raises and cost of living raises and increasing our contribution to health insurance to 30 percent. This increase on top of a 5 percent pay cut and no cost of living or pay raises results in pay decreases up to 14 percent for state employees.

In a state that is listed in the Congressional Quarterly’s State Fact Finder as having one of the top 10 highest "costs of living" in the country, it is unrealistic and unsustainable to ask state employees to take a 14 percent cut in their pay. Gov. Douglas balks at raising taxes, but it seems to me that this "proposal" is little more than a targeted tax on a select group of people.

Using this recession as an opportunity to shrink state government or force more Vermonters into poverty is irresponsible, particularly when the federal stimulus package is intended to preserve and create jobs.

CATHERINE CATTIER

Barre