In a move that I would call too little too late, but nonetheless a small step in the right direction Vermont state employees OK pay cut.

MONTPELIER — Unionized state employees overwhelmingly agreed to a 3 percent pay cut, voting to ratify a two-year contract that takes effect in July. The cut is expected to save the state $2 million in the budget for fiscal year 2011, which has a projected $150 million shortfall because of declining state revenues.

About 83 percent of the 2,300 voting union members supported the contract, Kraus said. Voting turnout was about twice what it normally is, he said. The contract covers some 7,000 state workers.

Employees had been warned that if they didn’t go along with the 3 percent pay cut, they might fare worse. The union and the Douglas administration had reached that figure on the suggestion of a fact-finder after coming to an impasse. The administration had sought a 7 percent cut.

Gov. Jim Douglas said previously he hoped the contract would serve as a model for Vermont municipalities.

Model? Model For What?

Until we see cutbacks in pension benefits we have no model. Moreover, this cutback only saves $2 million out of a needed $150 million. If that is a model, it is a model of ineptitude in two ways.

1) It does not remotely begin to cure the current budget problem
2) It does not address the long term problem of pensions and pension benefits

It is a step in the right direction, but a only baby step when giant steps are required. Gov. Jim Douglas has nothing to be bragging about.

By the way, I received the link for the article above moments ago thanks to a soldier in Afghanistan.

I will not use his name for obvious reasons but “BP” writes:

I saw this story in the Burlington (Vermont) Free Press . I’m sitting here in Afghanistan reading your blog…as always, it is great!!!

Such is the power of the internet, instant communication and sharing to the remotest of places.

To all the military, most of who are in places they do not want to be, many of who are in places they do not even believe they should be ……

Happy New Year