This has been a wild set of days in April. From the protests in WV, OK, and AZ, to the ones we held here in KY, I feel exhausted and we still have 30days of school, some districts have almost 40 because of weather days. However, Tom Eben at the Herald-Leader made a good point in his OpEd “What’s Next?” What will KEA and the Ky state worker pensions groups do next to motivate voters? It is obvious that if the election for Governor were held last April, Bevin would be an easy target, but he is one man and one office. What is it that can be done to reshape the political dynamics and create a new landscape for voters to getting excited about?
If you are not paying attention, let me catch you up. Since 2009, the KY State Senate and House have been raiding the State Employee Insurance fund each year to offset the underfunding of state budgets. In this year’s budget Governor Matt Bevin proposed a $200m raid, but today the House ($400m) and Senate ($300m) both propose their own taking of money paid by workers into the fund. By decreasing the state employee insurance, they are shifting the out-of-pocket burden on to a smaller group and thus reducing the economic impact of those 250,000 workers. Neo-Cons preach trickle down econ but reducing the take-home pay of state workers is actually the opposite of that by taking spendable money out of the families lives. Additionally, if it costs more to receive medical care, people are less likely to go out and get the medical care. This feeds into reduced efficiency in the workplace and the higher chance of teachers, first responders, desk clerks, etc showing up sick to work.
If you still do not understand how they can refuse to reassess the tax revenues streams of the state while reducing the take-home pay of over 6% of the state population, I think this is the plan. By creating a more dramatic raid on the system from the House or Senate, the plan from Gov. Biven seems more accessible. These other two plans can also be used as bargaining chips to force SB1 “reforms” that haven’t been supported by KEA or JCEA. We saw last week that Republican leadership was willing to hold up passage of an HB for families of fallen officers to move FOP against workers not supporting SB1.