(Chuck Muth) – Pack your bags, we’re goin’ on another guilt trip! That’s right, more sad sack tales of woe coming from taxpayer-funded government employees over at UNLV. Without further ado, let’s see what’s in our e-mailbag today, shall we?
From UNLV’s “Department of Socialist Class Warfare” comes this from one Todd Jones [firstname.lastname@example.org]:
“This morning I read this in the paper: ‘Legislators met Tuesday with Republican Gov. Jim Gibbons to discuss how they will cope with a short-term deficit of about $900 million during an upcoming special session of the Legislature. Some Democratic lawmakers acknowledge options to bridge the gap probably won’t include tax increases.’ This stunned me. In a terrible budget crisis like this it would seem reasonable for ALL options to be on the table, including some tax increases for those who have done well in or benefited from the economic crisis.”
Ah, yes. Tax the rich, feed the poor….ol’ government worker.
Then there’s this from Felicia F. Campbell, Professor of English [email@example.com]:
“Dear Legislators, I am Felicia Campbell, the longest serving professor at UNLV and probably in the system. I am pleading with you not to cut the classified personnel’s salaries further or require additional furlough days. Among the lowest paid state employees, they simply cannot afford another hit. Many of these people are my friends and have been for years. I know for a fact that some are already going without essentials such as medication and even cutting back on food.
“…There must be a way, such as judicious borrowing, fewer administrative perks, and less hiring of new administrative personnel at high salaries as just happened at UNLV. Certainly some of you could encourage your constituents to create fund raisers or telethons to gain additional funds to get us through his crisis without doing it on the backs of the most vulnerable. I know you care. Please think outside the box.”
Yeah, baby! By all means, let’s see if Jerry Lewis is available for a telethon where he can roll some of these people out on stage and watch them die right on camera from not getting their medications thanks to the budget cuts. It’s brilliant!
Or…or…hey, how about a bake sale? People could buy cookies, cakes and pies and then turn around and give the goodies to government workers who are cutting back on food because of the one-day-a-month furlough rather than a complete layoff. Yeah, that’s the ticket!
David Chess of Henderson writes….
The PURPOSE of the government is to SERVE the citizens of the state. Therefore it is only reasonable to assume the citizens need and want certain services. If this assumption is correct then do what needs to be done and let all of the citizens of Nevada pay for those services by increasing the sales tax. This would be equitable to all and would solve the problem instead of putting unrealistic temporary bandages on the problem. Other states have done so, so why shouldn’t Nevada? When the economy rebounds and tourism returns to Nevada, reduce the sales tax.
“The purpose of government is to serve the citizens of the state”? The Founders must be rolling in their collective graves.
No, Mr. Hess, the purpose of government is to protect individual liberties. But don’t take my word for it; let the author of the Declaration of Independence explain it to you:
“A wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government.”
It is NOT the purpose of the government to take money forcibly under penalty of law from working citizens to give to government workers to provide “services” which are not a legitimate or even necessary role of government. We can start with the Department of Cultural Affairs and work our way up.
As for “When the economy rebounds and tourism returns to Nevada, reduce the sales tax” – what planet do you live on? Some $800 million worth of “temporary” higher taxes were approved by the 2009 Legislature. Any bets on whether they are extended or made permanent by the 2011 Legislature?
Taxes are the only thing on earth which defy gravity; once they go up they almost never come down.
Now this next one is just sad. It’s from Anna M. Drury [Anna.Drury@unlv.edu], Administrative Assistant II, Office of the Dean, College of Business, who writes that she has “lived in Nevada for 33 years and totally support higher education. Myself and my children have went to the colleges and universities in Nevada.”
“Myself and my children have went to…”? That’s the level of education being dished out at Nevada’s System of Higher Education?
Ms. Drury drones on (sorry, but we do not provide an interpreter for tortured grammar – you’ll have to try to figure out what she’s trying to say on your own):
“The state is not only has increased the cost of our health insurance 1. by higher premiums, 2. by tripling our deductible and by providing us less coverage (cost of medicine has doubled). In addition, we are currently required to take one furlough day per month. Some institutions have increased costs, such as parking, to employees to make up for their departments shortages. I am topped out and the state has decided not to pay COLA for the next two years, so it is very difficult to make up for these additional costs and payroll deduction (furlough day). I have MS and cannot afford the costs of my medical if I want to live in my house and eat. I have already been forced to take a second mortgage on my home and how are we expected to put anything away for retirement, pay our medical and other costs?
Gee, imagine how tough it would be if she was LAID OFF.
And just so folks don’t think it’s only UNLV employees who are grammar-challenged, get this opening sentence from one William Brinsmead:
“Hi Folks. I have been working at UNR for 26+ years before I retired this month, now and am again appalled at the almost vindictive drive to additionally cut state workers salaries as opposed to more furlough days as needed to balance the budget.”
Makes my head hurt.
Now grab your hanky for this one from Pamela Ueno, Administrative Assistant II, UNLV Student Counseling & Psychological Services:
I am writing this letter to explain my unfortunate set of financial circumstances due to our salary cuts. I have listed my major issues below.
…My furlough had cut my pay approximately $1,500.00 per year. I had already been living on a minimal budget before the furlough was implemented. Now with $125.00 less per month I am barely living paycheck to paycheck. Maintaining a savings account is impossible.
My medical and dental expenses have increased. . . . Current deductable is $1,450.00 before the insurance co-pay will kick in. . . . Receiving care at the current deductible rate is not a viable option. I am deferring any currently needed medical or dental treatment, for the simple fact that I simply cannot afford it.
…My husband is fully disabled and suffers paralysis on the entire left side of his body due to a brain injury. He is often confined to the bed for much of the day. To prevent further deterioration of his condition, my husband is in need of medical care which we are currently not able to afford. Despite his condition he is the primary caregiver for our pre-school aged daughter since I work full-time and we cannot afford child care.
I have a child who needs to be enrolled in school. My daughter starts kindergarten this fall. When we moved to Las Vegas three years ago, I was excited about getting her involved in the community programs. Much to my disappointment, our current financial situation has not allowed us to enroll her in preschool or any other social activities.
… My household has cut back on all “luxury” expenses including recreational activities, clothing and food. My family can no longer participate in any leisure activities such as movies, concerts, museums or dining out. Nor can we do scenic drives due to fuel expense. We forgo using our heater in the winter, and use the air conditioner only a few hours a day in summer. We endure the hot/cold just to save on our electric bill.
After my bills are paid, I have less than $200.00 a month for my family’s household expenses. Feeding a family of 3 on less than $200.00 a month gives us a dull, rather unhealthy diet. My other household items such as toiletries and sundries also need to be factored into this extremely restrictive allowance.
The financial stress is taking a toll on my family dynamics. My husband and I have had a very good relationship but have increasingly been involved with arguments stemming from the frustration of how we are going to deal with our finances and provide for our daughter.
…I love my job and living here. It is very important to me to not only keep my bills current, but especially important to be able to live a healthy lifestyle. Any further cuts to my income, or increases to my health care would send me into bankruptcy, foreclosure, or at worst require me to move out of state. I moved to Nevada by choice 3 years ago and Nevada welcomed me. It is disappointing that it now feels like, Nevada is pushing me away as a burden to its economy.
Yes, things sound quite bleak for Mrs. Ueno. But again, how much worse off would she and her family be if her non-essential job was eliminated completely rather than her salary being reduced by $125 per month?
$1,450 deductible? Hell, mine’s $5,000! Did what I had to do to keep my monthly premium down. What I wouldn’t give to be able to afford a $1,450 deductible.
As for recreational activities, we have these things in Las Vegas called “parks” and “playgrounds.” They’re free (well, sort of…the taxpayers pay for them). As is daycare for those who can’t afford it or whose spouse is disabled. As for clothing, give Super Savers or Goodwill a shot. That’s where I get a lot of my kids’ play clothes.
You see, Mrs. Ueno, many of us in the private sector are hurting just as badly, if not worse, than your family. It’s not that we’re unsympathetic; it’s that we have our own problems to deal with. And we’re not dealing with them by writing whiny emails to state legislators at 3:28 pm on a Tuesday afternoon when you probably are supposed to be working!
On now to one Amber D. Woods [Amber.Woods@CSN.EDU], College of Southern Nevada, Office of Human Resources.
I am a classified employee at CSN. Two years ago, my former fiancé and I decided to purchase a new home in Northwest Las Vegas. A month after writing a check for the earnest deposit out of my savings, we learned that his employment contract would not be renewed and we had to cancel the contract on our home. The builder refused to refund the deposit and instead kept the only savings I had…. Since that time, my former fiancé and I have separated….
I rearranged the way I spend my money and when, cutting out luxuries like internet access, cable past channel 16 and brand name breakfast cereal. . . . I was advised last June after experiencing increasing pain over several months that I have a bulging disc in my lower back, but discontinued my physical therapy after a short time because that $20 co-pay a few times a week is out of the question. Now I just deal with it. . . . .
What scares the hell out me, is the thought of another furlough day, or pay cut of any kind. I will simply not be able to make it. Period. . . .Angry that I and so many others are having to literally pay for, suffer in one way or another and go without because of bad decisions made by IRRESPONSIBLE and OBLIVIOUS politicians. Disappointed that everyone is so afraid to raise taxes on the gaming industry because these are ‘the hands that feed them.’
OK, so Ms. Woods put money down on a house with a man she wasn’t married to and lost it when he lost his job and they broke up – yet her current predicament is because of bad decisions made by irresponsible and oblivious politicians?
Amber also noted that she’s scheduled to move into a brand new home next month and just doesn’t know how she’s going to pay for it. Here’s a suggestion: Get a roommate! I understand there are LOTS of homeless UNLV workers out there (see next item).
Over to Charles Mrozek [firstname.lastname@example.org] who writes:
“Good Day All, I know some of you have been receiving e-mails from state employees due to the advent of a possible second furlough day. I would like to remind you that some state employees are already experiencing two furlough days. My wife and I both work for the state and we are losing two days of pay every month.”
So we have not one, but two non-essential government employees griping about having a job at taxpayer expense. Lovely.
Mr. Mrozek continues….
I have fellow employees who have lost their homes, cars and have had to sell or pawn off most of their valuables.
Um, hate to beat a dead horse here, but there are taxpayers in the private sector who have lost their homes, cars and have had to sell or pawn off most of their valuables during this recession. Why should taxpayer-paid government workers be any different? What makes them so special?
And then the threat….
“I would also like to remind all of you, that the people of this great state elected you into your respective offices and we can vote you out in the next election. Please consider other means in order to balance the budget, state employees have bled enough.”
Bled enough? Only 60 non-essential government workers have been laid off over the last year and half. That’s not even a pin prick.
I guess to finish up this episode of “The Gripes of Wrath” my biggest questions are: Why does Susan Summers, the instigator of all these whiny emails, have so much time on her hands and is she orchestrating this online bitch session while on the clock?
By the way, according to the UNLV website, Ms. Summers is a “Budget Technician” for the “English Department” who is pulling down $56,626.56 a year base salary, not counting benefits.
Sounds to me like Layoff Bait to me.
Whoops! This just in from one Rebecca Colbert….
I an writing to you to urge you NOT to enact another furlough day on those already sacrificing to help the state. . . . Spending, I agree, must be cut but revenue must also be generated. Please tax me! . . . Tax me, tax industries such as gaming and mining, and eliminate programs that take money without generating revenue.”
OK, now are you ready for the punch line to this “tax me” proposition?
I work as an adjunct instructor at UNLV and as a librarian for the Las Vegas Clark County Library District and am likely to be laid off of both those jobs this summer.
Now, how exactly are we going to raise taxes on Rebecca Colbert if she doesn’t have a job?
I mean, where will she get the money to pay her higher taxes? And isn’t that exactly the point about raising taxes on citizens in the private sector who are hurting every bit as much, if not more, than these whiny government workers?
But since Rebecca brought her mother into this conversation, I’ll give you three guesses as to who her mother is? Ready….
My concern is personal as well as political. My mother, Susan Summers, is a state employee at UNLV who is desperately trying to put a face on the financial ruin that furlough days have already caused the state workers.
Why am I not shocked? The family that lives off taxpayers together sticks together.
Do these people realize they are not helping their cases with these emails? No, I guess not.