Letter to the Editor - June 29

June 29, 2011

State employees’ bonuses to be swallowed by agency fees

To the editor:

With freedom on our minds as we celebrate the Fourth of July, our state employees will be experiencing a diminishing of their freedom.

Beginning with the July 1, 2011, pay period, the State of Maryland will be withholding an “agency fee” from all state employees, including the two-thirds of state employees who do not want to join the union (higher-education employees are specifically excluded). This is due to the passage during the 2009 legislative session of Senate Bill 264, a bill requested by the O’Malley administration that authorized the unions to negotiate with the administration the collection of service fees from nonmembers.  Interestingly enough, although the legislation was passed in 2009, a year ahead of the election, the provisions were not included in the contract until after the 2010 election.

The contract that was ratified by approximately 10 percent of eligible voters also included a $750 bonus for “employees who had endured furloughs,” though the bonus will be given as well to new employees who were not furloughed. In the analysis of the personnel actions by the Department of Legislative Services, “the bonus as currently conceived will be spread over the 26 pay periods of fiscal 2012. Given the current tax structure for the average employee earning $48,500 per year, this $28.85 pre-tax boost to each check would likely result in the general post-tax range of an added $18.50 per pay period. This amount will be just enough to offset the fair share charge, hence doing little to provide a bonus to employees.”

Thomas Jefferson said, “To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.” The O’Malley administration and the majority in our legislature seem to believe otherwise. As these deductions begin, employees can thank the following Howard County representatives for this legislation: Sen. Ed Kasemeyer, Sen. James Robey, Del. Elizabeth Bobo, Del. Steve DeBoy, Del. Guy Guzzone, Del. James Malone and Del. Shane Pendergrass. (Del. Frank Turner was absent.)   

 We are proud to have opposed this legislation and to have supported legislation that promotes freedom in the Maryland work force.

Del. Gail Bates
Del. Warren Miller
District 9A, Howard County

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