Dear Governor Guinn,
I am a state employee and so is my husband. Most of our friends are state employees. Our biggest concern is the poor state of our health benefits and the need for a substantial raise. Not only do we make less than city and county workers for doing essentially the same work, but our health insurance is pitiful. We are all losing money to work for the state.
Now that we have the opportunity to receive good insurance from the Teamsters, the State Employee Benefits Board is taking that away from us. I understand that it is a self-preservation issue for them. They don't want to be out of job(s) if their agency is privatized (like the State Industrial Insurance System), but at this point I don't care! I want the peace of mind that good health coverage gives a person.
The current and proposed state health coverage is a joke. And not a very funny one. It is wonderful that a study has been done to show that state workers need a raise, now let's do something about it.
Please, give state workers a substantial raise (5 percent is not substantial when we are 26 percent behind city/county) and allow us to opt out of the state's pitiful excuse for health insurance. A 5 percent or similar wage increase will not cover the increase in premiums, deductibles, etc. as required by our health insurance. We won't even be breaking even. I do not believe for a minute that the legislation was passed with the intent that a self-serving benefits board could prevent state employees from opting out for a better benefits program.
Health benefits are usually considered to be "part of your wage." State workers suffer doubly by having low wages and poor health benefits. Thank you.