You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Alan Levin’ category.

The Port That Almost Got Away
Courtesy of news.delaware.gov.

It wasn’t that long ago, Markell and Alan Levin said: “With a private investor we were going to get $500 million invested in the port. There would be new upgrades, new docks poking out into the Delaware, new infrastructure”, and the New Castle County construction industry, labor and contractors, saw that $500 million aimed at them….. .

Monday, February 11th, we finally heard the deal….

$5 million towards expansion.

It is being rolled out as a $200.5 million dollar deal. But, that comes spread over 50 years. $200.5 divided by 50 years is $4.1 million a year.

But wait again. We are getting $16 million up front, which disappears into the General Fund this year, and is gone forever. And some of those costs will go to infrastructure. So if we pull the $5 million for expansion, the $24 million for maintenance over 50 years (or $480,000 per year), and the $12.5 million for infrastructural improvements (or $250,000 per year), we have a lease payment coming in of…..$2.85 million a year….

$2,85 million is exactly the tiny bit the state of Delaware spent on funding Pencader Charter School, which is about to go belly up … Despite state investment the school has had difficulty working with its annual budget, leading to it having been at risk of closure in 2011, 2012 and again in 2013.. In October, 2011, the school fired three teachers who had been reported by the state for being paid a state pension at the same time that they were getting teaching salaries. They immediately rehired the fired teachers as independent contractors, a fact which came to light when one of the teachers was recorded calling a student a “bitch”. That teacher, Bob Lewis (husband of school head Ann Lewis) was found to be being paid $6,500 a month for teaching a single class on morals and ethics…..

We are thinking of giving away our port for what it costs to fund a Charter School that teaches “morals and ethics”…

As previously mentioned, if the 420 dock workers have their union dissolved and make $10 less per hour, that bodes a deficit of $5 million every year to the City of Wilmington and County of New Castle economies…..

Delaware’s seaport creates 4,300 family-sustaining regional jobs which produce $365 million in annual business revenue and $31 million in regional annual tax revenue. Port activity generates $34 million in annual Port revenue.

You can’t blame Kinder Morgan. Anyone would jump on getting control of this port for $2.8 million a year….

The blame has to belong solely to whomever it was who decided to sell the 2nd best fruit and banana port in the entire global market, across the entire circumference of the planet, for almost nothing.

We cannot afford to lose the port of Wilmington and only to get a negative return back on it.

Forget absolutely everything else but money. This is just a plain bad deal….

Advertisements

If you were supposed to be getting married and found your future spouse out on a date with someone else,  there is probably a good chance you won’t be getting married.   One could alway hope.  Perhaps it was a business meeting.  Perhaps it was an old friend?  Perhaps a long talk with a former love?

But in all probability, your fiancée is probably going to call the wedding off.

It is in this framework that we hear that Kinder Morgan,  the only approved suitor for the Port of Wilmington, has just bought out Copano for $5 billion.   Let’s see.  The total cost of their Wilmington Port investment up front fee was $16 million or 0.32 of One percent of what they just spent on buying out Copano.

That gives you an idea of how important Wilmington was  to them.

Today they signed an agreement totaling $30 million investment in improvements down in Southern Texas with Calpine, a power generating company.

At the same time they were meeting with the Diamond State Port Authority here just off 13 south of  State Road….

The Wilmington Port nor Diamond State Port have commented at this time….

Looking at the money there is a good chance we just got brushed off……

Stop everything. Let’s just focus on finances.

When we first heard of this deal, the Markell administration sold it like this. With this deal was are hopeful that a $500 million investment will be put into extending the port into the Delaware River.

That investment back into the port is currently pegged at $150 million. The deal is for 50 years. The exchange of $16 million up front seals the deal. The state gets a lease payment of just under $2 million a year. And the expansion into the Delaware River is not going forward.

A general rule of thumb is that any corporation doubles the amount they tell a state government when they make their investment. In order to get approval they make the verbal statement but are not legally contracted to spend what they promise. Consequently the force of stockholders and their unending demand for profit, deems these investments to become half of their usual stated amount.

So in-port investment will be close to $75 million if this general rule holds true in this case.

Delaware for their port, will receive over the 50 year lease, (50 yrs. X $2 mil) or $100 million, plus the $75 million that Kinder Morgan will actually spend for two cranes and a conveyor. This grand total of $175 million averaged per year, amounts to $3 1/2 million per year.

With no expansion into the river, the rate of cargo must be the same. There are only 4 berths and usually all are full. We will not grow jobs. Instead those working now at union wages, will decrease to non union wages. With 240 union jobs at stake, just with a $10 an hour deduction under Kinder Morgan, the states economy loses (240 X 40hrs/wk X 52wk/yr X $10/hr), or Delaware would suffer almost a $5 million hit to their local economy.

This alone would amount to a negative impact caused by the privatization of the port.

$3.5 million a year that is positive; $5 million a year that is negative. The good news is that within the confines of the state budget, there is a switch from a cost of minus $1.5 million, to a plus of $3.5 million. The bad news is that cost just got dumped on the laborers currently working at the port, who collectively will lose $5 million. They will still be putting in the same hours; just that the local economy will be making do on $5 million less…. That $5 million goes as profit to Kinder Morgan headquarters.

Furthermore, Wilmington’s port volume increased 25% this past year. Up from 4 million tons to 5 million tons. The dollar losses quoted by Alan Levin do not yet account for this increased activity. There is a chance the port actually did make money over 2012 and actually cost the state nothing.

I can understand why Kinder Morgan is interested in the port; it is obvious considering how cheap Markell and Levin are selling it. I would buy the port for that cheap.

The issue begs to be asked. If we are selling the port so cheap, why? Why are there not lines of people begging to pay more for an investment that becomes $1.5 million profitable with no change other than firing all the unions and rehiring non union labor?

Why do we only have one suitor, who was handpicked by a consulting firm, and don’t have open bidding?

I would venture, perhaps because “open bidding” is done in the “open”?

I can name two other deals done in the dark that did not end well for our state. Fisker and Bloom…. Both negotiated by Markell and Levin. I supported both myself because both made good sense on paper. Reality is different. Our in-expertise got us shunted to the bottom of the creditor pile causing us to not get money back from Fisker even though we specified that it was to be clearly promised to us in the deal. The tricky investment firm instead, is getting that money. Likewise Delawareans have already begun paying for the Bloom boxes that will save them money. Construction is behind and has not been started.

I have watched the Phillies long enough to know that two strikes can occur and on the third one, the ball can still get batted out of the park. But I also know, not to bet on it happening…. I’ll enjoy it when I see it, but I won’t mortgage my house on it…

When you are getting married, for the short term you can enjoy the sex, the presents, the booze, the going out, but for a marriage to work you really have to know the other person’s heart. If you err, it costs a big bundle, it financially sets you back a decade, and it affects your life forever…

As any great mom or dad will tell their progeny…. If you don’t want to go through with it, don’t. It is easier to call if off now, then it will be 10 years from now. Plus, all that time isn’t wasted finding your real love.

Alan Levin is looking for a suitor. His bride is the Port of Wilmington. The dowries match up, the agreements between families work ok, but how can he tell if his daughter will be happy with the arranged marriage? He needs to discern the heart of the suitor, find out what lurks within. Is it malice, or self sacrifice. Is it selfish? Or selfless?

Finally we have a glimpse…..

In February
2011, for example, the US Department of Labor sued Kinder Morgan, arguing that the
firm had been underpaying nearly 4,600 workers for overtime for at least two years.

The company contends that its incentive plan shouldn’t be considered part of an employee’s regular hourly pay because whether any bonuses are paid —as well as how much an employee might get — is at the discretion of management and the boards of directors,

The Labor Department, which filed the lawsuit February 2011 in federal court, alleges that the pipeline company did not include the bonuses it paid its employees when it calculated their overtime pay. Federal labor law requires companies to include bonuses when overtime pay is calculated,

The Labor Department brought the lawsuit after its investigation uncovered what it called “systemic violations” of federal overtime laws at 11 Kinder Morgan locations in Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, North Dakota and Texas. According to the Labor Department, Kinder Morgan improperly rounded work hours in the company’s favor and failed to pay employees at several locations who attended meetings before their shifts began.

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 spells out how employers must calculate overtime pay. Many don’t realize they have to include bonuses that are related to meeting or exceeding production, efficiency or attendance goals, according to the Labor Department. Employers put the programs in place as an incentive for employees to work faster or more efficiently. Such bonuses — including quarterly and annual awards – must be included in total compensation and used to calculate the base hourly rate that determines the amount of an overtime premium such as time-and-a-half.

The company agreed to settle the suit, paying out $830,000 in back pay.

In business there are two kinds of people. Those that screw over their employees, and those that don’t. I’m sure over the course of your personal experience you will agree. What is particularly of interest here, it that this mistake could only be made in a non-union organization, and two, the rounding down systemically occurring across the nation, shows that directive comes from the top….

If one is pushing one’s employees to work harder and faster, and then cheating them on pay, one doesn’t have their best interests at heart.

So, we’ve glimpsed the heart. Since the deal over the port of Wilmington mysteriously revolves around the compensation of those current union employees who unload this and every week’s cargo, knowing how Kinder-Morgan will eventually view our employees behind their backs, should play a big part of the decision whether or not we want to allowed them into our family…….

Delaware's Port From Final Approach to NCC Airport
Courtesy of WDDE

Total employment — job counts have two major limitations: (1) they don’t necessarily reflect the quality of employment opportunities, and (2) they cannot be easily compared to the public costs of attracting those jobs (through subsidies, tax breaks or public investments).

Aggregate personal income measures the monetary  increases as pay levels rise and/or additional workers are hired. This works as long as nearly all of the affected workers live in the study area.  This guide is  a reasonable measure of the personal income benefit of a project or program.

Value Added Corresponds to the GDP.  It reflects the total sum of wage income and corporate profit generated within the study area. However, in today’s increasingly global economy, value added can be an over-estimate of the true income impact on a local area, insofar as it includes all business profit generated there — all of which gets paid out as dividends to owners of the business who do not reside in the study area, and that which is reinvested into corporate facilities that lie outside of the study area.

Business Output (also referred to as revenue or sales volume) is the broadest measure of economic activity, as it generates the largest numbers. It includes the full (gross) level of business revenue, which pays for costs of materials and costs of labor, as well as generating net business income (profits).  Much of that money bypasses the local economic area.

Property Values  can rise in a community as a result of a new business increasing the demand for property, which may be a direct consequence of increasing aggregate personal income or the re- investment of business profits. It is also important to note that when property values go up in one neighborhood but down in another neighborhood, there may be a sufficient redistribution of wealth but no net change in the overall level of local wealth or incomes.

The point of this illustration is to educate you for when Alan Levin says, this will bring $100 million into the port of Wilmington, you can ask,… how much of that goes into the community?  The answer, if Kinder Morgan moves in, will be just the amounts paid in wages for operations and for future construction.

Currently, because the operation is under the auspices of the state of Delaware,  all of the revenue impacts the state and local economy.  With the moving in of Kinder Morgan, property values will decline, thereby adding a negative economic drag to the possible boost the sale is predicted to provide.

A very similar comparison would be to compare Alan Levin’s Happy Harry’s to the current Walgreen’s today.

Walgreen’s put money into each unit.  Construction dollars flowed to those hard hit in construction trades.  Those working at higher wages with Happy Harry’s are no longer there.  They were replaced with cheaper labor.  The quality of product that abounded at Happy Harry’s has now been streamlined.  The cost of everything but pharmaceuticals has risen.  The pharmaceuticals because of Walgreen’s size, have themselves become cheaper.   The profits originally went to Alan Levin who lives here in Delaware.   Today,  profits are transferred out of state to the headquarters in Deerfield, Illinois.

So was the transfer of assets good for Delaware?   You can see the problem with trying to assess the change of the Port of Wilmington’s ownership.  It could be Alan’s enthusiasm is driven by the success of his former negotiation…

The prime issue is jobs versus wage rates.

Here is a quick illustration.

$300,000 =  10 jobs at $30,000.

$300,000 =  15 jobs at $20,000

$300,000 = 30 jobs at $10,000

$300.000=  40 jobs at minimum wage and 20 hours per week.

So when you have massive unemployment, being able to say you will create 40 new jobs creates a big political boost in your favor.  One can see why corporations hire as cheap as possible.  Isn’t it better to have a pool of 40 people who can work, and are hungry for work, than 10 who are less productive?

But the downside, is those 40 people can’t buy anything.  There is no money for anything but subsistence living.   The state and town’s resources get strained covering the additional costs such cheap labor requires, like medical care, like food stamps, like EIC, all which are a drain of resources being taken away from other sources….

Keep in mind, it is the same $300,000 by the corporation that is being paid out.  So from a town’s point of view, having 10 people fixing their houses, paying their taxes, hiring yard work and carpenters, buying cars, buying higher priced food, affording their own insurance,  donating money to charities, is better than 40 people costing it food stamps, sucking up Medicaid, bleeding out supplemental unemployment, SIS benefits,  forcing extra police coverage, necessitating  anti drug efforts, causing  higher crime patrols, etc.

By far, it is better for the city to have workers who contribute, instead of cost.

Which is why, the privatization of Wilmington’s Port, is not in the best interest of Wilmington and New Castle County,  unless the union can negotiate a prevailing wage floor, unless local workers get to do the construction and re-investment, and unless no decrease in neighboring property values is ever allowed to occur……

And … as we learned from Fisker, unless a special clause is inserted guaranteeing the State gets first in line to receive assets if Kinder Morgan goes bankrupt or walks away from Delaware and Wilmington should it ever decide the rate of return is not what they expected…..

Port of Wilmington Is In Need of Some Investment
Courtesy of Wikipedia

Is the economic model being used to evaluate the impact of privatizing the Port of Wilmington, the exact same one used to determine the economic benefit from both Fisker and Bloom Energy?

Delawarean’s probably ought to know.

If yes, might it be possible that here could be some flaws inside that formula?

Contorversy Across the Fields of Barley
Photo Courtesy of www.oldwilmington.net

It is a question of degree.. Who has the more authority within the current moment. A brand new administrator elected by the choice of the people over his predecessor, or…. a plan put in place and carried out by a previous administration.

Bottom line. There are no rules here. Depending on which side you seem to be on… will affect your outlook. The decision is both right and wrong for either side, depending upon which criteria one will use to decide.

Examine the first.

An Administrator is elected. He comes in and takes over his office. One of the planks he ran on was to reverse a certain act of his predecessor. When the people had a choice of electing a person who was for the proposal in question, and one who was against it, they overwhelmingly went for the one who was against it….

Now the second.

An Administrator inherits a problem from his predecessor. He applies considerable effort to get a deal made and moved forward. It goes through all proper channels. It is legalized by a vote on Council. It is the Council and thereby the County’s official policy. A schedule has been drawn up. Funding approved. It is in effect, in the middle of being completed…. Since it was set in stone before the new administrator comes in, he has no right to interfere…..

Can a chief executive overrule a previous Council’s decision? Well. Romney certainly was going to with Obamacare.
Congress had passed it, the Supreme Court had legitimized it, and Romney was going to make it obsolete with the stroke of a pen, based solely on the argument that it was the wish of a mandate of the voters putting him into office.

If it would work for the president, it must also be effective and allowed, under the new New Castle County Chief Executive.

It therefore, is not only legal, but ethical, contrary to the opinion of one certain Danberg who resigned in protest as county attorney on Wednesday.

A leadership role demands that a leader leads. For a leader to have to swallow every poisoned pill his predecessor were to leave him, puts not only him, but his department and the province he oversees…. at risk. That would be harmful to all society, if something was locked in stone by every outgoing administration…. Were that the true will of the people of New Castle County, to have Barley Mill Plaza go forward, then Paul Clark would now be the executive, not Tom Gordan…

Either way the decision goes, someone gets hurt. If the decision is to go forward, then those residents around that area who are the victims of a fabricated traffic study, are doomed to suffer. If the decision is to be stayed, and reworked pending a new traffic study, then those who have invested into the plan, are the ones doomed to suffer.

So someone has to get hurt! The question is …. who?

HERE COMES DA JUDGE!……

I want some bread, man Can you give me some bread
Right click for full view.

In isolated argument the idea of school vouchers has appeal. If you can’t get the education you need, you go somewhere else to get it. The idea is that this forces those losing students to change in order to attract them back.

Everyone gets a better education.

There is a huge problem with that argument. I will use Hurricane Sandy to point it out.

Before Hurricane Sandy struck, everyone went shopping the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday before. By Sunday night, there was no bread in New Castle County. In every store, the shelves were empty.

At first it was the cheap bread that went. The dollar loaves which are the first pick of most bread eaters. As those were gone, then the basic bread of private bakers went, the brand names. Soon all the white bread was gone, and the wheat began disappearing. After the wheat was gone, the gourmet breads began disappearing, the 5 grains, the 7 grains, the 12 grains, the hearty grains… Then went the ryes, the Jewish ryes, the pumpernickels. Many people who came for white bread, who’d never paid $4 dollars a short loaf before, were snapping it up. When all the bread was sold out, hamburger buns went, hot dog buns went, dinner rolls went, starting from cheap all the way up to Arnold’s and Pepperidge Farms… The last person coming in to pick up a loaf of bread, got gourmet pumpernickel hot dog buns with oatmeal sprinkled on top…

You walked in Sunday night, October 28th, 2012… the shelves were bare…. from one end to the other….

How does this correspond to vouchers?

If everyone has the option of taking a voucher to improve their child’s education, you’ve created a crises and a lack of supply.

The best schools are snapped up first, then the 2nd best, then the 3rd, the 4th, the 5th, and at last the inner city schools being the last to go… So those shopping first get the good deal. Those say out of town, arriving late and picking out a school before the deadline, are stuck… And some, because of a shortage of schools, go without.

There was bread on the shelves the next day. But a school system that mis-allocates a student deals with that problem for a full year, seriously setting back the development of that child and possibly the room he is in….

The problem with school vouchers, is as a system, it doesn’t work. Oh it works for one individual. But it only helps the first in line. After that, it is all downhill.

For if you gave every bread shopper a number based on whether their purchase matched their expectation, those getting the store brand for a dollar would rate a +1, then if one settled for their second choice they’d get -1. Third choice would equal -2. Fourth choice a -3 and so on down the line. The total of the negative numbers would quickly balance the positive ones, making the total value of all zero, and then continue bringing the entire total further into the negative with every new purchase…. In the same way, school vouchers after the good schools were full, would increase the negatives to a point so big, they would soon swallow up any positive advantage the voucher program had every given…..

So as we approach the teaching crises. we must ask ourselves how we wish to be judged. Do we want to mandate that we will always have bread on our shelves, with plenty of choices for all? Or do we want to let anarchy or random chance decided who gets ahead, and who gets left behind?

So, why has no one looked at voucher’s impact on an entire school system before?

What Lower Christiana Will Look Like in 10 Years
Photo courtesy of Google Maps/ Lower Schuylkill

Kinder Morgan is a pipeline company. It is the fourth largest energy company in America, behind Exxon-Mobile, Chevron, and Conaco-Phillips. Though it was spun off from Enron, a point of contention which many opponents point to, it was started by those who saw to where Enron was headed and jumped the ship in port before Enron began its fateful run. In fact, it employs the whistle blower who reportedly sank Enron. So get that comparison out of the way. KinderMorgan is not Enron. It IS the fourth largest energy business in America.

Which shows how little we really know about it. For Kinder Morgan likens themselves to a toll road. No matter whether the price of gas goes up. or the price of gas goes down, as long as it gets transported by the fourth largest energy company, it makes money. Kinder Morgan transports energy.

Which is why it wants to come to Wilmington.

Big company. Little state. Equals coercion.

Today, most people have no idea what the Dupont reference means in the title. That is amazing and really shows how far things have come in thirty years… Without exaggerating too much, it would be safe to say, Dupont owned Delaware’s government, and got anything it wanted. For that privilege, mind you, they loved us and bestowed upon us many gifts, including our double laned highway stretching from Delmar to Philadelphia Pike… now named the Dupont Highway… In all honesty, one of the things that makes Wilmington such a great city, and makes Delaware one of the best states, is the generosity of Dupont bestowed upon this state with the second smallest landmass.

It came with a price. Our toxic waste dumps. Our cancer rates. Our brownfields. These were bought by Dupont’s gifts to those running our state. Vote to allow Dupont to dump toxic chemicals on a piece of land and get a museum as a bonus. Really how can anyone say no?

38 years later, no one remembers the museum, except that their school may have went there on a field trip. And that is hard to even remember while busing mom to her radiation treatment center, and taking the kids to AI Dupont for their bone marrow transplants… And with all the Advil you have to take to keep the throbbing bearable in your own head, it is a miracle that you even remember anything..

Choices have consequences. Every marriage has its cost.

It becomes a moral issue, now. Should Delaware divorce the marriage made to its high school sweetheart, the one with a long high school and college courtship? The one both families have gotten used to? The one spawning four children? The one supporting a church, a PTA, the Food Bank, the fight against diabetes, with volunteer effort, because a new suitor just happened to notice you and wants to play?

A big name like Lindsey Lohan wants to marry Delaware. She will bring a lot to the table. The question is, just as if the suitor were Lindsey Lohan, the benefit is very short term. The cost, will be on-going for the rest of our lives…. Is there a chance that such a marriage will work? There is always a chance…… but .. nope. Not in this case.

There will be a Kinder Morgan port with liquefaction plant somewhere on the east coast. It can either be in the Delaware Bay or the Chesapeake Bay. There is so much gas being found in the Marcellus Shale region of Pennsylvania right now, estimates of a massive 100 years worth, that to get a higher price for it one has to go overseas. Europe is starving for gas. Russia keeps turning their supply on and off.

Someone will need a gas port on America’s east coast and the cheapest spot is between north of the C&D Canal, and Philadelphia….

A pipeline from the terminal at Coatesville to Wilmington is rather cheap, and with minor adjustments, LNG (Liquid Natural Gas) ships docking in Wilmington will soon carry their explosive cargo to Rotterdam, Hamburg, and Sagunto, Spain. ..

This construction will be done with non-union labor brought up from Texas. Existing contractors with whom Kinder Morgan are familiar. Costs per mile, payment plans are already locked down. Gradually Southbridge with the help of Delaware’s General Assembly and the blessings of the next generation of chief executives, will be bulldozed and turned into the next Marcus Hook.

It is inevitable. Europe’s lifestream will flow through Delaware. Shipping is not as dependable as are pipelines and storage is a key component… Fill the tanks when the price is low; sell the contents when the price is high.

The Christina Riverfront, will resemble the lower Schuylkill delta. Across the river from the riverwalk, storage tanks will stretch as far as the eye can see……

This deal, that of giving away our port, WILL CHANGE DELAWARE FOREVER…. and it is being done in secret. No community involvement. All hush hush. False innuendos being given instead of details…

Are the details not as bad as the hype? Well, whenever that scenario occurs, details usually are leaked out for the very reason the are used TO SWAY OVER the public… Since they aren’t leaking, someone is trying to present a fait accompli.

Speculation is always rampant when there is silence. The best way to combat irresponsible speculation is to release the actual details. Let people know what to expect before the deal is done. Just perhaps, their objections may open your eyes to a possibility previously unconsidered, that could, if found out too late, wreak havoc with our daily lives!

Otherwise Delaware, expect to be greeted early one morning with this… : Kids? I kicked out your Mom last night… I want you to meet your new Mom… Her name is Lindsey. Lindsey Lohan… Everything is going to be just great from here on out!”

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.