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Political notes from Free Press staff writers Terri Hallenbeck, Sam Hemingway and Nancy Remsen



Over in R.I.

You know those negotiations going on between the Douglas administration and Vermont state employees over $7.4 million in payroll savings? Well, Vermont's hardly alone.

From the Associated Press:
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Governor says Rhode Island will lay off 1,000 workers after judge blocks government shutdown.
The closure of state government Friday was supposed to be the first of a dozen shutdown days that Gov. Don Carcieri ordered to help close a $68 million budget shortfall.

- Terri Hallenbeck

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It's a race to the bottom and human beings are the collateral damage. Nice. How Christian of us.
One big difference - VSEA offered the Administration furloughs (which Douglas rejected) and the RI governor is trying to impose them.
This time around:
VSEA offered 8 furlough days, along with getting rid of the state dental plan, and also freezing cola and step raises for 2 years and other minor benefits ( totaling 14.5 m in give backs. They refused: They want state employees to take a 18% cut, combo of 7% pay cut and paying more in their insuance preimum.
Here is what public sector unions in Vermont have failed to recognize:

On the way up to better pay and better benefits they played leapfrog. One union got a better deal and the next parlayed that to even a better deal. At one point, the S. Burlington teachers union even proclaimed that they deserved more than the rest of Chittenden County because they were better. (ya sure!) So this is the new problem, management is playing the same leapfrog game going in the other direction. Now the question is how far is down?
quote please! you can not make this statement, "At one point, the S. Burlington teachers union even proclaimed that they deserved more than the rest of Chittenden County because they were better."

and not provide a link to the quote.
And why does Jim Douglas deserve to get paid more than any other New England governor??
That Lundervillle kid kind of sounds like Cindy Brady.
"And why does Jim Douglas deserve to get paid more than any other New England governor??"

All the other Governors have state-paid Gubernatorial mansions and many other gubernatorial, state-paid perks that we don't have in VT.

Compare apples to apples when you throw around your accusations.
State paid perks? Like having all your meals paid for? I think Jim does ok.
Is he the only State employee that gets his meals paid for?
Anyone wanna bet the other New England Guv's don't pay for their meals either?
All of the legislators get meals paid for.
1) Douglas gets $54/day every work day of the year whether he eats or not, over $14,000. State workers don't get any reimbursement for lunch even when they have to eat out for work - like when they travel to all corners of the state providing services to the public. Dinner reimbursement is not enough for a meal anyplace but McD's.
2) VSEA offered furloughs and pay freezes totallign $20 million but it was not enough for Douglas - Douglas wants layoffs, make no mistake about it.
Yay! Layoffs for union workers who take the pictures at the DMV offices! I'm for that!
The Legislators get a meal and housing allowance.
Legislators who travel more than 50 miles from home to the statehouse receive the meal allowance tax free.

Those less than 50 miles away are taxed as income.

Room allowance is only paid if the legislator fills out the form; and again, if its less than 50 miles to their home, it is taxed as income. More than 50 miles no tax.

Get it right before you blast them.
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