Mary­land state work­ers de­serve a raise, too

Baltimore Sun - - FROM PAGE ONE - Pa­trick Mo­ran, An­napo­lis The writer is pres­i­dent of the Amer­i­can Fed­er­a­tion of State, County and Mu­nic­i­pal Em­ploy­ees Mary­land Coun­cil 3.

Thank you for writ­ing about why fed­eral em­ploy­ees are long over­due for higher wages (“Un­em­ploy­ment is down, now pay should go up — even for fed­eral work­ers,” Oct. 5). Mary­land state em­ploy­ees de­serve a raise, too.

Mary­land is the wealth­i­est state in the coun­try and ended the most re­cent fis­cal year with a $504 mil­lion bud­get sur­plus. Gov. Larry Ho­gan brags that we“had the best year for busi­ness in Mary­land in 15 years and the best year for job growth in a decade.” The state has in­creased its own rev­enue pro­jec­tions by $732 mil­lion over the next two years.

But our state’s pros­per­ity has not been felt by all of us: a ma­jor­ity of Mary­land state em­ploy­ees earn less than the liv­ing wage. Be­tween stag­nant wages and higher costs of liv­ing, the ma­jor­ity of state em­ploy­ees have barely enough to get by. So while the state has the fis­cal ca­pac­ity to in­vest in im­prov­ing the lives of its em­ploy­ees, the cur­rent ad­min­is­tra­tion is choos­ing not to make that in­vest­ment re­sult­ing in a va­cancy of over 2,500 state po­si­tions.

This choice is cost­ing our state money: high turnover rates, va­can­cies, low re­cruit­ment, poor re­ten­tion and bal­loon­ing over­time pay are ex­pen­sive prob­lems faced by mul­ti­ple agen­cies as a re­sult of low wages.

Just like the fed­eral gov­ern­ment, if Mary­land wants to at­tract qual­ity work­ers, it should be will­ing to pay them what they de­serve. Es­pe­cially when op­por­tu­nity for more money is so close, with sur­round­ing states and the Dis­trict of Columbia of­fer­ing more com­pet­i­tive wages to pub­lic em­ploy­ees and Mary­land’s pri­vate sec­tor of­fer­ing greater wage growth.

Los­ing good em­ploy­ees is threat­en­ing the qual­ity of our vi­tal pub­lic ser­vices. It's time to in­vest in them and in us. Gov­er­nor Ho­gan needs to rec­og­nize that rais­ing wages for Mary­land’s state em­ploy­ees is in the state’s best in­ter­est.

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