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  Friday October 24th, 2014    

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Union rubber stamp approves employee contracts (02/24/2013)
From: Rep. Steve

Drazkowski

Mazeppa, Minn.

Despite not having passed one budget bill that addresses our billion dollar budget deficit, the Democrat majority in the Minnesota legislature continues to find new ways to spend your money without having a source to pay for it.

First, the Democrats accepted $4 billion from the federal government to expand Medical Assistance, knowing full well that when the federal money dries up Minnesota taxpayers will likely be responsible for 100 percent of its future funding. Now they have agreed to spend a quarter of a billion new dollars by giving state employees from five unions an across-the-board two percent pay raise.

You’ll recall that the subcommittee on employee relations, led by Republicans, rejected these contracts last year because they pursued the status quo and contained no reform measures. As a member of this committee I can tell you that all we wanted in the deal were two reform provisions: pay for performance standards, and individual employees paying something – anything – towards their own health insurance premiums.

Last session, it came to our attention that individual policy holders paid nothing towards their health premiums. Keeping in mind that health care costs are extremely expensive, where else in the world would it be considered good business to not require their employees to contribute anything to their own health care coverage? We pushed for the individual to pay ten percent annually as opposed to forcing the taxpayers to be on the hook for 100 percent of the costs.

Unsurprisingly, Governor Dayton’s staff refused to prioritize this reform. Instead they, supported by Democrat legislators, dragged their feet with hopes for a change in legislative leadership after November.

In the meantime, unions poured money into the coffers of Democrat candidates in hopes that the DFL would be more sympathetic to their own interests. In the end they won, and now the taxpayers are going to lose.

With this deal, state government employees in seven out of ten employee classifications now earn five percent more than their counterparts in the private sector who are performing the same task. On top of the autopilot step increases increase and government-paid insurance cost increases for the last 18 months, and combined with the two percent raise that was approved last week, many of these workers are receiving what amounts to a nine to ten percent increase in total compensation –all while Minnesota attempts to eliminate a $1 billion budget deficit.

Unions helped buy a DFL legislature last November, and now we’ve got union rubber stamp proposals flying through this legislature. This is only the beginning as Minnesota still has other outstanding contracts to be “negotiated,” which basically means raises for their employees will be coming; the only question that remains is at what percentage?

Don’t be fooled, folks. The era of government reform is over, while the status quo and government on spending autopilot is back in flight. To the victor go the spoils. In this case, the unions – and their deep pockets – clearly won last November, and now you will have the privilege of funding this very costly political payback.

Please let me know what you think. You can write me at 289 State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, St. Paul, MN 55155. You can call me at 651-296-2273 or e-mail me at rep.steve.drazkowski@house.mn.  

 

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