April 17th, 2007

Isn’t “Affordability Tour” Really An Oxymoron, When You Think About It?

by Philip Baruth

This past Friday, we were discussing the Vermont Leadership Institute’s latest fundraising brainstorm: a closed raffle for a new Prius, 1000 tickets maximum, $100 a piece. And we were lamenting the fact that even with those sweet odds, it’s a relatively short list in Vermont who could afford to get in on the fun.

the prius

Well, let’s not forget one name on that list: Jim Douglas.

Over at the Prog Blog, Representative Chris Pearson has some handy figures about the Governor’s salary:

“I was surprised to see Governor Douglas’ scheduled increase. In 2004 he was earning just over $133,000. He’s ticked along with a steady increase and now he’s landing at $150,000. Time to stop the affordability tour?

“I gather we’re in the habit of boosting the Executive Branch and exempt state employees (commissioners, secretaries, and others generally at the top of the pay scale) at the same rate as rank and file workers. But it’s a percentage increase. Getting a 4% raise when you earn $35,000 is nice. Who couldn’t do with an extra $1,400?

“But if you’re earning $100,000, 4% delivers more. And it just keeps on compounding.”

And as you and I both know, $150,000 a year will buy a lot of recreational boating.

dubie, douglas, baked, fishing

Pearson’s solution? Hold the Governor’s raise to the same rate as the “level-funded” General Fund: 1%. Especially in a year when “Juvenile Reparative Justice Boards took a whack, as did State Aide for the Blind & Disabled.”

Well worth a read. And to make it easier for you, we’ll be carrying the Prog Blog on the sideboard for easy reference. They do good work over there.