As Oregon families and small businesses brace for lay-offs and reductions in wages and benefits, Senate Republicans are calling on state executives and elected officials to help offset the state’s worsening economic situation.
Republicans are advancing three Slim Down Solutions to reduce the state’s financial burden and help balance economic hardships. By reducing the cost of state government, these solutions will help protect critical programs serving elderly and disadvantaged Oregonians.
The Slim Down Solutions proposed by Republican state senators are as follows:
1. Reduce CEO salaries at all state agencies;
2. Expand the governor’s proposal for a “work holiday” from 8 days to 10; and
3. Reject the recommendation to increase legislator pay this session.
“There’s an injustice when working class families and small businesses are suffering while state employees enjoy hefty pay increases and rich benefit packages,” said State Senator Ted Ferrioli (R-John Day). “We should adopt the same spirit of sacrifice and belt tightening that Oregon families are currently facing.”
Governor Kulongoski handed out pay increases in 2008 to agency directors whose salaries already ranged from $100,000 to $135,000 a year. Some directors received raises of more than $30,000, which is more than many Oregonians earn in an entire year. Union workers, among the Governor’s biggest political supporters, received substantial increases. The recommendation for pay increases for state legislators came in 2008 from a non-elected commission chartered to review pay levels for state officials.
“That the Democrats are suggesting raising taxes and borrowing money while state employees are getting massive raises is an insult to working class Oregonians and small businesses,” said Ferrioli. “The reality is we can’t afford fat cat government salaries and big government any longer.”
Pay increases granted by the Governor this past year will cost tax payers $258 million in this coming budget cycle. Meanwhile, the Governor’s budget proposes $2 billion in tax and fee increases and slashes services to seniors.