A letter to state employees from legislative leaders

I read with frustration the governor’s letter explaining his side of the budget process to defend his risky choice to veto a fair and balanced budget. While I can appreciate that the governor signed a continuing resolution to fund state government and has committed to no layoffs of state employees, this is not enough.

The governor made a political choice to side with wealthy corporations over the needs of the citizens of our state, and the rest of us will pay the price. The budget the governor vetoed was a compromise between the legislature and the governor meaning neither side got everything they wanted. Also, the vetoed budget has strong support from the SEA and many stakeholders in the process. This budget provided important funding for enhanced and greatly needed state services, creating hundreds of new positions to help alleviate the chronic and dangerous understaffing which plagues our agencies to better meet the needs of our state and fellow citizens. With his misguided veto, the governor is delaying response to critical needs in our communities. Delays that will hurt our neighbors, friends, and families.

It’s not lost on me that the governor praised dedicated state employees in his letter. This is well-deserved praise, but rings hollow as the governor attempts to force concessions from you in collective bargaining. These concessions include instituting a “fail first” prescription drug policy. Does that make you feel valued and respected? If the governor truly wants to appreciate you he can start with a fair contract that helps the state attract and keep great workers like you. Simply saying “you’re the best” is shameless pandering.

I have had conversations with legislative leaders who want to provide context for the budget story the governor is telling. Late yesterday, those leaders sent me a letter and I have decided to share it – you deserve the full story and the opportunity to draw your own conclusions. Please read the letter here.

In unity,

Rich Gulla

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