Little support for state employee pay raises - 113 citizens, 288 responses

Jun 17, 2015

This year’s budget negotiations have turned out to be particularly controversial, with Gov. Maggie Hassan following through on a threatened veto of the legislature’s proposed 2016-2017 spending plan. One of the areas of disagreement cited by Hassan was the decision by House and Senate budget writers to exclude funding for a 2% pay raise negotiated with state employee unions. On June 17, the Live Free or Die Alliance asked Facebook members to weigh in on the debate, posing the question “Should state budget writers include a pay increase for state employees?”

A total of 80% of respondents answered the question directly or with a concurrence, and of these a 68% majority opposed funding the raises with 32% in favor. Of the remaining respondents, 19% opted to discuss the subject in broader terms while 1% commented on unrelated issues. In sum, 113 citizens participated in the discussion with a total of 288 responses. 

Opponents of funding the raises cited pay freezes in the public sector and tough economic times. “No raises, the taxpayers can't afford it,” one commenter wrote. “Show me some metrics that justify the increase.  Otherwise this sound like a handout to me,” a respondent stated. “I do not like the fact my taxes will go up to pay for their higher wages,” another commenter said. 

Supporters countered that the raises were fair. “If NH does not fund these negotiated raises, it would be a contract violation. Do we want to send the message that NH does not honor its contracts?” one commenter argued. “It was negotiated. It should be honored,” a respondent wrote. “Cut other waste in the budget to honor the raise,” another commenter stated. 

Those opting to discuss broader issues debated the nature of the proposed raise. “Percentage raises are so unfair, the top always get a bigger raise then the ones on the bottom,” one commenter wrote. “Sounds like it’s not a raise but a COLA [cost of living] adjustment,” another respondent said. 

Click here to read the full Facebook discussion of this question. 

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