Isn’t it a bit unconscionable for an administration (Democratic at that), to ask for raises for its staff, because they were effective especially at minimizing raises for everyone else? The surprising answer is … no.

Because yes! Cabinet secretaries under the law, should be getting a raise right now.
The answer also for those underneath, is that ALL state employees, based on their hard work and sacrifice over the past 4 years, now that money is again flowing into our treasury, should also get a raise as well.

Both groups deserve a raise. The money to pay for it should come from those who did well over the past four years,… Our own 1%.

Obviously someone has to be first. By the law specified in Delaware’s code, in order to have any raise for the next term of 4 years, the request for Governor Markell’s staff has to go in now, between the election and prior to the swearing in of the new legislature.

As for the AFSCME union’s rank and file, their request is handled through a different venue, the General Assembly, as those legislators take on the task and divvy up all the resources being spent in 2014.

So if there is any controversy, it can only be about timing… and the attempt to make a comparison of future earnings with the practices of the past. None of us do that in our own lives; we should not do that when messing around with the lives of other people….

How much do these raises cost us taxpayers?

Under the original proposal, as reported in the News Journal, here were the dollar amounts to be raised…. $12,775, $19,780, $9375, $2781, $2781, $2781. Effectively a grand total of…. $100,546.

Theoretically, if this money was spread between all of AFSCME’s employees, 4000 in number, it would amount to an extra $25 dollars per year… That would be an insult. Those workers deserve more.

Every leader or head manager needs to take care of his team; especially when they do well. Obviously the opposite does not fly. “Oh, I stole all your time away from your family, and used your intelligence, effort, creativity, to enable me to get the credit for running one of the best administrations ever, and now, I am going to take everything for myself and give you nothing back for all your effort.”

That statement does not fly in the face of the rank and file, nor should it fly among the top echelons of government.

Keep in mind, that salaries for these positions are set at the beginning of every four year term, specifically to last the duration of the whole term. None of us, who usually get yearly reviews, have our salary levels that well set into stone. Also keep in mind what the Minner years gave us, where we did not keep our cabinet position salaries competitive with those in the private sector, and, settled for the level of talent we paid for..

Salaries at the top are seen in light of investments. “If we, the state of Delaware, invest this much into you, Mr/Ms Secretary, what will be our return?” Smart people give better returns than dumb people. Smart people usually charge more… For example? Really good lawyers charge more than those getting a foot in the door; they do so for a reason.

So what about those on the bottom? How is this fair when they are required to stay at the same level, or as was the case recently, even being asked to work for less when the money became tight from lower revenues?

The answer is: those on the bottom deserve raises as well. And my answer to any questioning of the percentage often in double digits to those at the top, would be… that if you saved Delawarean taxpayers hundreds of millions, then perhaps you too, would be worthy of the same percentage… But most likely you didn’t make that much of a financial contribution to all of us paying your salary… Therefore, your salary increase which is expensive, needs to be proscribed by what we can afford.

For you see, $25 extra dollars a year doesn’t cut it. If 4000 people all got $1000 raises, that would cost an additional $4,000,000 over what we currently take in now. If you make that $2000, still very little, the cumulative total is now $8,000,000. Considering we were once considering an 8% cut of all government employees in times of hardship, then re-giving them that 8% in times of plenty, would be more than fair. Furthermore when you consider a 2% raise was called for and only 1% was given, that too should be tacked on, simply to be fair….

So if we gave $10,000 additional dollars to every one of the 4000 AFSCME employees, the gross cost would be….. $40,000,000. Considering what they have sacrificed, how much they have lost paying into their own pension plans, the level being re-invested into our infrastructure of people, should probably be around $100,000,000 a hundred million a year... After trimming waste and sunsetting programs no longer needed, the funds for this raise still unpaid for, should be made up in the forms of a millionaire’s tax… After all, if you prospered off the backs of those earning far less, then, pay-up time is more than fair.

The nice caveat of paying all these people more, is that instead of justifying the expense of say…. the Route 1/Interstate 95 interchange upgrade as improving productivity by moving goods and services faster, you just invested $100,000,000 right back into the economy… where… it will be taxed again on a) income, b) gross sales receipts, c) real estate and property taxes, d) capital gains and dividend taxes, e) and even though election year is long past and this topic with the loss of Romney’s big mouth is long forgotten, this $100,000,000 will create lots of new jobs at the grocery store, movie theaters, convenience stores care dealerships,etc….as regular government employed citizens all release some of that “pent-up demand.”

People are capital too.