I love all the spin coming out of Raleigh and the governor's office today that Gov. Perdue's actions today were a "furlough" of state employees and teachers.
It most certainly was not.
It was a pay cut, plain and simple.
Employees are not forced to take the time off, they are just granted an additional 10 hours of flex time to take at their leisure. There's nothing mandatory to make them use it or keep them away. But the government is going to take 0.5% of their pay regardless.
Talk to any of the other workers in the private sector who are getting furloughed right now. They are told to take a week off and aren't going to get paid for it. Plants close, offices close, there's no way to go to work. That's a furlough.
This is Gov. Perdue reducing the state's payroll by 0.5% and giving the workers the option of taking time off.
Apparently, the Governor has probably done some polling and found that furloughs play better in public than pay cuts for teachers and state employees. Like when we polled last month asking about cutting salaries for state employees:
In order to close the state's $3 billion budget deficit, do you support or oppose saving $480 million by cutting salaries for state employees who earn more than $30,000 by 5%?
Support – 23%
Oppose – 68%
Not Sure – 9%
We didn't poll furloughing state employees, but I'd bet good money it polls higher than that.