[tabi] article from Democrat: opinion piece on public employees

  • From: "Chip Orange" <Corange@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <tabi@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 15 Apr 2010 15:58:13 -0400

Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda: 
Public employees must flex their muscle
Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda 
* My View * April 14, 2010

The public employees of Florida and those who
have retired are a real economic and political force.
It is time to make your power known.
Public servants of Florida are under attack, and it is
time to stand up and demand the respect you
deserve. I'm talking about all of you - the teachers
and university professors, law enforcement and
firefighters, correctional officers, and all of the state
and local government employees who make our
state run. Without your hard work and dedication,
Florida would come to a standstill.
This constant drumbeat to make public servants pay
for the bad decisions of previous legislatures that
gave tax breaks during the good times to the rich
has got to stop. These threats are already taking a
toll on the economy; if you are facing a pay cut,
higher insurance costs or other salary deductions,
are you looking at a new home, car or appliance? I
don't think so.
For almost five years running, state employees have
been denied raises while Wall Street has pocketed
millions in tax dollars. Now my Republican
colleagues in the Florida Legislature are adding
insult to injury by trying to balance their short-
sighted, ill-conceived budget on your backs. Here's
what they have been considering:
A 3-percent pay cut.
Requiring you to pay more for health care.
Require a contribution to your pension.
They are even considering breaking the
promise of a decent retirement by changing
the way pensions are calculated.Together, we
must remind those who would take money out
of your pocket that such a move is bad for
business, and bad for the economy of
Florida. These bills could easily result in an
average loss of $50 for each of the more than
1 million retired and current public
employees in Florida. State, county and
municipal employees, university faculty and
staff, teachers, police, firefighters, forestry
and marine officers - all could be affected.
Fifty million dollars buys a lot of pizza,
shoes, and even cars.One way to let the
political powers know how much of an
economic force you are is to put the
shopkeepers you frequent on notice. Every
time you buy something, let the person
behind the counter know that you are a
public employee and that, if legislators
succeed in cutting your income, you won't
have any money to spend in their restaurant
or shop. Invite them to write or call their
legislator and tell them how badly the cuts
will hurt the economy, their economy. Let
them know they can make their concerns
known by contacting their representative and
senator. You can find their e-mail address or
regular mail address at www.myfloridahouse.
gov and www.flsenate.gov. Public pressure
does work.
When you consider that every dollar spent turns
over six or seven times in the local economy, taking
$50 out of your disposable income will have a total
monthly negative effect on the businesses of Florida
amounting to $350 million.
Over the next year, a monthly $50 loss in your
income will have annual negative $4.2 billion
impact on Florida's economy. Count the spaghetti
dinners that won't be eaten, the dresses and flowers
that won't be purchased, or the houses that will
remain unsold. How may restaurants, shops or
home businesses will close because of bad
decisions made in Tallahassee?
These dire economic predictions don't have to come
true. You vote, and so do your spouses, parents,
neighbors and friends. When you add everyone
together, I'm betting you have a combined strength
of 2 million or more votes each election.
Two million votes is real political muscle, and it's
time to let legislative leaders who think you can
cause them no harm know that you and the other 2
million public employees and their families and
friends will remember when the time comes.
Together you can send a powerful message, but you
have to do it now. Time is running out.

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