Jay Inslee often talks about how Washington State has a budget crisis that can only be solved by raising taxes. What he rarely talks about it how he actually is growing the size of state government in the face of this alleged budget crisis.
The Olympian reports about one aspect of Jay’s “lean management” approach (which he talked about so much on the campaign trail) that was being kept quiet – that state government leaders handed out pay raises last year to 44 percent of all mid-managers.
According to the Olympian, “General government agencies quietly gave raises of more than 4 percent last year to 2,151 middle managers. The raises began after the Legislature’s formal freeze on pay was lifted effective July 1, 2013…raises went to about 44 percent of the two groups (of managers), which are not represented by unions.”
But, don’t feel too sorry for Jay’s union workers, as the paper also points out, “About the same time many nonrepresented employees (non-union) were getting raises, almost two-thirds of rank and file were receiving “step” increases that ranged from 2.5 percent to 5 percent, according to the governor’s Office of Financial Management.”
“Our math shows that 64 percent of classified executive branch employees got either step increases or step M,” OFM spokesman Ralph Thomas said. OFM said in 2012 that adding the 13th pay step for unionized workers would cost $38 million over two years. The agency has no estimate of how expensive it was to give pay hikes to managers.”
But it may work out even better for the union employees because, while Inslee was raising the pay of the managers, union negotiators gained the leverage they needed with the man that they gave $1 million to in the 2012 campaign. A state employee leader said, “He thinks his union’s research on the topic of managers’ pay might have helped secure a better wage agreement — 4.8 percent increases in base pay over two years — than Inslee’s team was initially offering.”
Of course, there are a couple steps remaining in Inslee’s attempt to make general state government even more costly for taxpayers – the negotiated contracts must be determined to be affordable, and then the state legislature must approve them. The Olympian points out that “Inslee’s budget office still has to determine formally whether the contracts are financially feasible. The state faces a shortfall of $1 billion to $3 billion in the next budget cycle, depending what lawmakers decide they need to do to comply with a state Supreme Court order to increase K-12 school funding. OFM’s estimate is that the total bill (for state employee raises) will be at least $583 million from the state’s general fund, if terms of more than two dozen contracts for wages and health care are extended to all workers in general government, higher education and private home care workers paid out of the state’s Medicaid program.”
Yep, Jay sure has this “lean management” thing down. Of course, for him that that just means leaning on taxpayers for money for his campaign contributors.