We do a lot of items about public employee self-enrichment. It should go without saying, however, that raises to public employees are not automatically bad. If the times are good for all, if necessary programs are fully funded, if surplus is there — and if public employees work hard — they deserve raises.
But the times are not good for all. While coastal California is recovering, the Valley is lagging. So it is at best unseemly, and at worst callous, for state legislators to treat themselves to a 5.3% pay raise.
Some declined. “Since California’s economy continues to struggle, with many Californians unemployed or underemployed, I do not believe it is appropriate for me to accept a pay raise,” said state Sen. Mark Wyland (R-Escondido).
What irritates is not just the arguably premature return to the trough. It is how the majority of state lawmakers do not stand with the Valley. They join urban California in moving on from the recession, without looking back to see the region left behind.