SEANC to advocate for pay raises, COLAs in short session

Apr 14, 2016

The General Assembly returns to town in ten days for what promises to be an action-packed short session. And, like always, one of the top items on the agenda for SEANC’s lobbyists will be securing desperately needed pay raises for state employees and cost-of-living adjustments for retirees.

SEANC is advocating for a 5-percent pay increase for active employees this session. SEANC will also call on legislators to respect retirees with a 2-percent cost-of-living adjustment and a change to the retirement formula of 0.02 to 1.84. This would give retirees a comparable increase to active employees.

The annual Consumer Price Index shows that the price of goods and services rose by 2.1 percent last year, and since state employees got a one-time bonus of $750 rather than a raise, while retirees didn’t get anything, both groups’ salaries bought 2.1 percent less than they did a year earlier – an effective pay decrease.

The “Carolina Comeback” Gov. Pat McCrory loves to talk about does not pertain to state employees and retirees. Since 2010, state employees have seen an effective pay decrease of 8.96 percent. Even worse, retirees’ pension checks now buy a whopping 10.5 percent less than they did in 2010.

This has to change. State employees and retirees deserve more respect than this. Projections show another large surplus this year in state revenue. The money is there. These increases are but a drop in the bucket to the effective pay cuts of the last decade. It is literally the least the legislature can do.

Gov. McCrory has already announced that he would seek a 5-percent raise and other bonuses for teachers, but made no mention of raises for other state employees or retirees. He needs to understand that while teachers do need raises, all state employees and retirees are in desperate need of meaningful increases.

In addition to raises and COLAs, SEANC will be pushing for its Top 10 Legislative Priorities as voted on by the 2015 convention. We need your help. Please contact your legislators today and tell them you can’t take another pay cut. And make an effort to come down to the legislature to lobby your representatives on your own. Just let us know you are coming so the SEANC staff can set up meetings for you.