Thursday, April 30, 2009

Governor to propose steeper salary cuts, seeks to pit Nevadans against one another

At a press conference today, Governor Gibbons proposed to address the worsening fiscal crisis by ...cutting public worker salaries even further.
Gibbons said his office would submit a budget amendment Friday to propose additional reductions in salaries for state workers, teachers and university employees. The governor, who originally proposed pay cuts of 6 percent for the public employees, wouldn't say the size of the proposed additional pay cut.
This is a total and complete abdication of responsibility. We know that the Economic Forum will report tomorrow that state revenues are now projected to come in several hundred million dollars below where they were projected when he announced his budget in January. At the time, his own allies said this was not a serious budget proposal, but merely a rhetorical exercise in pretending that the state did not need an adequate amount of revenue to stay in business.

Now he is again engaging in a merely rhetorical exercise. Only last week he gave a speech to his own self-appointed SAGE Commission in which he reportedly could not justify his own opposition to any revenues, even those supported by the Commission, by the voters and by the businesses that would pay them.

He continues to try to pit the state against itself, trying to force K12 to fight with Higher Ed over education stimulus spending, to force students to fight with faculty over tuition increases, to force faculty to fight with administration over the prospect of furloughs, to force public service workers to fight with business executives over whether we should have adequate health care.

These conflicts do not exist on their own, but the Governor needs to try to create them for his own political purposes. The Nevada Faculty Alliance joins with the entire rest of the state in refusing to give into this cynicism and remains determined to participate in constructive solutions to this crisis.

Needless to say, the Faculty Alliance opposes an even steeper cut to salaries of public service workers. Including university faculty whose salaries are 5% below the national average according to no less than the Chamber of Commerce's own study, and whose total compensation (salary plus benefits) is well below national norms for comparable institutions, according to the recent AAUP survey.

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