On the normally quiet Friday before Christmas, when most Coloradans were purchasing last minute gifts and making their final preparations for the holidays, our state workers were busy with another task: laying the groundwork for their 2014 push to receive an outsized pay increase from the state legislature.
Governor Hickenlooper would like to give state employees a 1.5% pay raise next year, coupled with the opportunity to earn an additional 1.5% in merit pay, a plan that would cost state taxpayers an additional $52 million, according to a report from 9 News.
But that offer is not enough, according to the union leaders at Colorado WINS, the state employees’ union. The union wants to double Hickenlooper’s proposed across-the-board wage increase to three percent, and keep in place the opportunity for an additional 1.5% merit increase.
In fact, Colorado WINS has already set aside a lobbying date to perpetuate the familiar cycle of government workers cozying up to their Democratic lawmaker friends who will, in turn, vote to send more taxpayer dollars their way. “Register Today and put in your time off request” announces the professionally crafted graphic advertising “Lobby Day,” February 24, 2013. Colorado WINS even rolled out a piece featuring numerous state workers explaining their responsibilities and boldly complaining about their pay.
In a state still grappling with unemployment issues where the labor force actually contracted over the past twelve months, this is the absolute worst time for Colorado state workers, with their iron clad job security, Cadillac health care plans, and generous defined benefit pensions to be reaching into the pockets of the taxpayers for a raise.
The absolute thrashing of Amendment 66 gave us a pretty good idea about how Colorado taxpayers feel about transferring more money from the private sector into government employee salaries and benefits. Democrat lawmakers should think twice about doubling down on state employee raises during this election year.