Thursday, March 19, 2009

Just a thought about Governor Markell's across-the-board salary cut ...

... which leads me into political hypocrisy land.

Our liberal and progressive friends in the Delaware blogosphere (and I am NOT being facetious with this comment) have always held up the progressive income tax as the foundation of an equitable society: those who make more should pay a higher percentage.

They attack regressive taxes like Social Security or gas taxes that take a disproportionate amount of income from the people who have the least income, while affecting the rich not at all.

So here's my question: why isn't Governor Markell's 8-10% across-the-board salary/benefits cut for State employees considered as a regressive tax?

If the governor were truly a progressive in the political sense of the word (and as all his supporters expected him to be), why doesn't the State employee salary/benefit cut list look something like this (please note: not a serious chart for research purposes, just an illustration):

Employees making under $35K: no cut
Employees making from $36-$50K: 3% cut
Employees making from $51-75K: 5% cut
Employees making from $76-100K: 8% cut
Employees making from $101-150K: 12% cut
Employes making above $150K: 16%

Why shouldn't the managers, supervisors, etc., who could not find ways to cut their budgets other than by cutting the salaries of their lowest-paid employees, be asked to accept a greater share of the burden?

And why shouldn't everybody in the State in the legislature, in the cabinet, and as the directors of all these agencies not be required to take at least a 15% pay cut until they can manage their agencies more effectively?

I'd be able to make some difficult choices, but then I'd never get elected.

Just askin'.


pandora said...

I like this idea, Steve.

Anonymous said...

Me, too.


Delaware Watch said...

You get no argument from on this progressive, Steve. In fact, I plan on writing how Markell's wage cut for state employees is viciously regressive. It will throw some state employees into the ranks of the officially poor. I'm appalled.

Anonymous said...

Regressive tax as you laid out here sounds like common sense approach. It appears the suits surrounding Jack on stuck on mirrors mantra....cuts across the board.

Families of the Disabled Network were listening intently today to see how the most vulnerable disabled will fair in his proposal, didnt get anything on it.

Could this idea be expanded to include a progressive property tax? The bigger your mansion the more tax you pay? Any thoughts.

Corporate taxes, the bigger your corporation the higher your corporaate tax and franchise fees?

Today we found out that many banks getting bail outs owe many are headquartered in Delaware? any tax revenue we are missing out on?

Steve Newton said...

I would have expected nothing else from you,


Tyler Nixon said...

Me six!

My problem with government focuses on the middle-management bureaucracy and the 'fat cats', not the working stiffs.

You can cut a lot money a lot faster by thinning out the herd at the top and middle, than by dumping a bunch of the lower-income people doing the shit work at the bottom.

Unfortunately the lower-income people who are on the front lines of providing services are treated like pawns to be either played or sacrificed, it would seem, at the shifty hands of 6-figure earning careerists and political ladder-climbers.

Richard Sternberg said...

The responses are very good ideas but the Governor's plan is a good start. At least the employees had some input into the choice of cut in pay versus cut in employees. The idea of a progressive pay cut is excellent but the example given isn't thought out enough. It is not enough to change the rate at specific levels, one must only change the percentage on earnings ABOVE that level, otherwise we have a very regressive situation where say someone who earned $34,999 has no cut but someone who earns $35,001 would have a total of say a 3% cut which means their net would be $33,950.97. That harldy seems fair. Another problem would be that the bulk of the state payroll is already in the lower pay levels. Still another problem would be the cost of implementing such a relatively complicated, properly progressive formula. How much would then be eaten up in increased costs to the Delaware Dept. of Treasury? Of course there is room for tweaking the plan but let's recognize that it is better than contributing to the unemployment lines.