Governor Mandates Increase in Wages for State Employees

Governor Mandates Increase in Wages for State Employees

Gov. Tom Wolf has unilaterally decided to spend more taxpayer dollars to raise the wages of 900 state employees and an unknown number of state contractor employees to $12 per hour. No estimates of costs to taxpayers were provided in the governor’s order.

Where the money will come from was not disclosed. But presumably it will come from the budgets of departments that do the hiring or contracting. Was the projected additional spending factored into the budget requests?

Most of the state workers are seasonal, part-time workers. It can be safely assumed that virtually all full- time, non-management employees are covered by union contracts that provide much higher wages than the governor’s new minimum wage along with very generous benefits.

This can be seen for what it is — a political favor tossed to the union and liberal voters who do not care about fiscal responsibility or free markets.

Fortunately, the U.S. Supreme Court ruling of late June will, over time, weaken the power of the public sector unions. Maybe teacher strikes and public sector union demands will subside in the new environment.

The free market has already greatly reduced the numbers of private-sector union employees and has made Pennsylvania among the slowest growing states in the nation as jobs and capital fled. Repealing prevailing wage laws and passing a right-to-work law are the minimum changes necessary to renewing the free enterprise strength that made the state an economic powerhouse.