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State Employees' Pay Pact Is a Backward Step

September 17, 2003

Re "Davis' Union Pact Defers Costs," Sept. 12: What planet does Gov. Gray Davis inhabit? He promised to renegotiate an improvident pay raise to state employees because we have an enormous deficit. So, instead of a taxable pay increase of 5%, he agrees to a nontaxable contribution to pension plans, plus interest, and he gives them 2 1/2 weeks more vacation (or a 5% raise, assuming a 50-week work year) that produces no increased taxable income, as the straightforward raise would do.

The "cost-cutting" renegotiation changed health insurance premiums by increasing the state's share from 72% to 85% by 2006. This is another huge and virtually uncontrollable expense that greatly increases benefits to employees and costs to the state -- and again without increasing taxable income, as a simple raise would have done. As a final insult, the people who negotiated the deal can't estimate how much it will cost. Far better that we should bite the bullet and give the pay raise.

Richard C. Morse

Redondo Beach

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