— Support cutting across political alignments
The Kentucky Chamber of Commerce recently floated a pretty straight-forward idea – with the economy in trouble and the state facing a serious budget shortfall, state workers should pay a bit more each month for their very generous health care program.
Of course, the unions involved had knee-jerk, negative reactions, but that isn’t the way it played out in the press.
I wasn’t surprised to see the conservatively oriented editors at the Paducah Sun come out in favor of the Chamber’s proposal (subscription).
But I was surprised that the Sun was quickly joined in its favorable opinion by the much more liberally oriented folks at the Messenger-Inquirer (subscription).
The public sector unions are clearly getting out of synch with the rest of the state. They are even getting out of line with other unions in the private sector which, seeing the inevitable, have made all sorts of accommodations in order to preserve at least some of their workers’ jobs. Somehow, taking money out of the dwindling numbers of Ford union members’ pockets and transferring it to a public sector employee’s pocket doesn’t seem to do much towards helping the economy.
The chamber is proposing that public sector workers increase their contribution towards health care by just $50 a month. That doesn’t seem like a lot to ask as a contribution to keep the state, and many of those public sector jobs, afloat in this critical time, especially when, as the Messenger-Inquirer notes, Kentucky state worker average salaries now exceed the average salary for all other occupations in Kentucky by more than $1,000.