It's no secret that California's fiscal house has long been out of order, and it's become especially apparent this past year when the Governor and Legislature pushed through a series of deep cuts as a last-ditch effort to balance the budget. The austerity measures didn't stop at cuts to state programs- most state workers will also be facing a pay cut starting this fiscal year.
That being said- what are your thoughts on merit pay raises for legislative staffers during a time of fiscal crisis? Recent reports indicate that the California Senate approved raises of up to 5% for 559 of its employees this past year, while the Assembly awarded raises to roughly 150 staffers. To be fair, most of these folks haven't seen a raise in the past three years due to freezes, so a 3 to 5% raise appears sound.
I can tell you from firsthand experience that for most employees working in the Legislature the pay isn't pretty and the hours are long, so perhaps a nominal raise after a long pay freeze is good for morale and well-deserved in most instances. But what about raises for those on the higher end of the pay scale?
A newly released payroll record shows that at least 93 California Legislative employees making over $100,000 received a raise this past year. Don't they also deserve a bump along with the rest? With all the negative buzz surrounding the issue, it doesn't appear so.
Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg has even issued a statement proposing a new salary freeze on all Senate employees for this fiscal year. Pay hikes during a deficit, yea or nay? What are your thoughts?
Here's more on the issue from the Los Angeles Times and Sacramento Bee: