State employees react to Kaine's budget proposal

By Melissa Correa - bio | email
Posted by Phil Riggan – email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) –   For state employees, the week ends on a grim note.  Gov. Kaine proposes another round of layoffs: 664 positions.  Possibly bringing the total number of job cuts to 2,300 in two years.

"Thousands of layoffs already have occurred," says Ron Jordan with the Virginia Governmental Employees Association.  "Two pay raises in a decade. This is not good business."

Jordan says Kaine is severing the limbs of the nation's best managed state government. According to a statement from the VGEA, workers -- rookie and veteran -- are now considering a job change.

"Lower paid employees who are going to see a cut in their take home pay because of the increased retirement contributions -- small increases in health insurance costs -- are saying 'I don't know how I'm going to make it paying the bills, because I'm living paycheck to paycheck anyway,'" Jordan said.

Kaine wants to shift the retirement age for new hires from 50 to 55. And next year  Kaine wants employees to set aside 1 percent of their salaries for retirement. Two percent the following year. Currently, the commonwealth invests for both employees and employers.

"What he didn't say he's going to do is he will be capping the cost of living allowance for people who retire after next July," Jordan said, adding it's going to be a fight to the bitter end. Every penny and every employee is worth it.

"He'll do what he had to do and we'll do what we have to do," he said.

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