The first round of state employee pay cuts ordered by Gov. Bev Perdue to balance the state’s current budget deficit hit paychecks today, and as expected hard tales of financial ruin percolate throughout the media.
Of the 270,000+ state employees affected, how is it WRAL just happened to stumble upon a state employee whose husband was unemployed and child has cancer for its story on the pay cuts? What an amazing coincidence!
nurse Pebbles Elsasser said the cut will hurt her family. Her husband
is unemployed and her daughter is recovering from brain surgery, she
"It's almost like you go to your child and you say, 'Guess
what? Would you rather have your medication so that you can continue to
live every day or would would rather eat or do I have gas money to get
to work?'" Elsasser said.
While these personal tales of doom and gloom are sure to pull on the heart strings of everyone, let's get a little bit of perspective.
Over the past five years state employees have received pay increases totaling 16.74%. Teachers have received 20.97%. The average starting salary for a teacher in NC has gone up roughly 25% from around $25,000 per year to $30,000 per year.
Indeed, even with these "pay cuts" in effect, state employees will still have received an overall pay increase of 2.24% this fiscal year. So in a year where the budget is having to be reduced by $3 billion over what was budgeted, state employees are still seeing their paychecks increase. That's not really a pay cut now is it? In reality, the state is just taking back less than 20% of the raise state employees received this year.