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From the Desk of Senator Craig Johnson - April 16, 2010

State Workers Should Agree to Salary Freeze

Last week, Governor Paterson put forth legislation that included a temporary freeze on projected state employee raises while the budget is under negotiations.

The response from the state worker unions was swift, angry, and wrong.  On this issue, I agree with the governor. I also believe those same state worker unions should follow the lead of teachers in the Roslyn and Port Washington school districts and agree to a wage freeze for this coming year.

We are in the midst of a very real financial crisis and I believe it is imperative for us all to share in the sacrifice.

I am extremely proud of the men and women who comprise our state work force, as I am of our teachers and municipal employees. They are dedicated public servants who work hard everyday. However, the reality is that New York State cannot sustain these pay increases as we face a $9.2 billion budget deficit.

Agreeing to forgo such raises also sends the right message as families continue to struggle and our economy continues to rebuild.

As I have said before, I believe that elected officials should not be increasing their compensation for these same reasons. There are no state legislator raises on the horizon and I have introduced legislation that not only freezes per diem rates of all state lawmakers, but also rolls them back to last year’s levels. This bill (S6227A) deserves a vote before the full Senate.  

Believe it or not, my positions on these issues are considered radical in Albany. But, as you know, in the real world, this is just common sense.