A few days ago, I asked if State Senator Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) would give back her 5.3% pay raise for this year, and along with that blog entry, I sent Sen. Lazich an email. Today I got an answer to my question:
Thank you for your e-mail about the legislative pay raise.
In the past, I have returned legislative pay raises to the state in the form of submitting written monthly checks, only to see first-hand during one budget process after another how the state subsequently squanders the money. Returning the pay raise, I am afraid would only result in moiré wasted expenditures. Therefore, I have decided to accept the pay raise that I will use toward charitable contributions.
In addition to explaining that she’s going to accept her very generous pay raise, Sen. Lazich took a moment in her email to explain that she voted against approving state employment contracts for the 2007-2009 biennium because the raises negotiated for state employees were simply too generous. In defense of her argument, Sen. Lazich cited a memo she received from the Legislative Fiscal Bureau which indicated that state employees would receive a minimum raise of 8.00% total from 2007 to 2009. The memo in question compares the state employment contract raises to the qualified economic offer (QEO) raises employees of school districts receive using a methodology the LFB admits is problematic (much like comparing apples and tomatoes), and what Sen. Lazich seems loathe to admit is that in terms of real dollars, the raises state employees received over three years are in many cases less than the 5.3% raise Sen. Lazich will receive this year alone.
For example, the memo Sen. Lazich cited indicates the Professional Social Services (PSS) bargaining unit received an 8.00% raise for the 2007-2009 biennium (when compared to the QEO), but in real actual dollars (not some number obtained using suspect methods), state employees working in the PSS bargaining unit received a 5% raise over the three years of the 2007-2009 biennium, a figure lower than Sen. Lazich’s own 5.3% raise for 2009 alone.
In choosing to vote against giving state employees a 5% raise over three years while accepting her own 5.3% raise for just 2009, Sen. Lazich has clearly demonstrated that she holds state employees with little regard.