Friday, January 30, 2009

How are our neighbors weathering the economic crisis?

In Utah state legislators are taking a pay cut to help balance the state's budget. From the Salt Lake Tribune,

Legislators have decided they will bear part of the budget-cutting pain and cut their own salaries by 10 percent -- beginning after this session.

"I think [the salary cut] is significant as we're asking everyone else to tighten the belt," House Speaker Dave Clark, R-Santa Clara, told members of the House Republican caucus.

I believe that our legislators are already severely underpaid but I think at times like this our elected leaders should be taking proactive steps to demostrate solidarity with rank and file state workers and regular citizens who are feeling the economic crunch. In the grand scheme of things there actions may amount to little more than a gesture of support but even simple gestures can have an impact on morale.

In New Mexico Governor Richardson will cut his staff and appointees salaries by 2% in addition to other cost-savings measures.

No word from Governor Ritter as to what, if any, cuts to salaries his staff will face. It should be noted that the governor is not funding the salary increases for his staff next year which aligns them with the rest of state workers in that regard. That's a nice gesture but at a time when the governor is asking his department heads to find 10% savings in their budgets and warning state workers that they face the possibility of 8 mandatory furlough days in the next 18 months more is needed from Ritter. As the leader of the state work force it's imperative that the governor do more than he has to demonstrate solidarity with the rest of the state work force. It's unseemly for him to ask for so much sacrifice across state government without requiring the same sacrifices from his office and staff. I'm sure the governor will ultimately do the right thing I would just encourage him to act soon.

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