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|Freeze Civil Service pay raises|
The state Civil Service Commission would be wise to go along with the Jindal administration's request that it freeze annual pay raises for Civil Service employees in the 2011-2012 fiscal year.
Commissioner of Administration Paul Rainwater says the Jindal administration will not budget for the annual pay hikes in light of the state facing a $1.6-billion revenue shortfall heading into the 2011-2012 fiscal year, which begins July 1. Rainwater said freezing the pay raises would save $55 million. Some $16.5 million of the $55 million concerns state general fund revenues.
Rainwater delivered that news to the Civil Service Commission last week. Gov. Bobby Jindal is expected to appear before the Civil Service Commission this week to make his case for why the commission should agree to his administration's request.
Traditionally, Civil Service employees receive a 4 percent pay hike each year. Those pay raises – generally speaking – did not affect unclassified state workers in the past.
At the Jindal administration's request, the Civil Service Commission opted not to grant the 4 percent pay raise in the 2010-2011 fiscal year because of budgetary pressures. According to Civil Service Director Shannon Templet, the 4 percent pay hike cost $35 million the previous year.
Civil Service employees were not the only government workers who did not receive a bump in pay in the current fiscal year. They are not the only ones who are being asked to bite the bullet, so to speak, in the new fiscal year either.
When the Jindal administration leaned on the Civil Service Commission to freeze pay raises in the current fiscal year, Jindal signed an executive order freezing pay hikes for some 30,000 higher-paid unclassified state workers. Meanwhile, the administration says it will not budget for pay raises for unclassified state employees in the 2011-2012 fiscal year.
No employee – whether it's someone who works for government or in the private sector – likes to be told a pay raise won't be forthcoming. However, money is tight in Louisiana thanks to a lackluster economy. That means tax collections have been anything but robust.
The private sector has been forced to tighten its belt courtesy of the weak economy. It's not unreasonable to ask state employees to follow suit.