Will state, local officials allow Obama plan to work?
I read with interest your July 17 editorial comment on the stimulus bill and how to get it to work.
Surprise! It probably won't work in Minnesota -- especially in Beltrami County -- because Gov. Pawlenty has already unallotted almost as much as Obama sent. I've spent my $250 Social Security stipend so I did my part.
Now county commission Chairman Lucachick proposes further cuts at the county level such as eliminating the 2.5 percent scheduled increases for county employees for 2009 and 2010, which totals 5 percent at the end of the period. That's the equivalent of firing one out of every 20 employees, which seems contrary to the Obama plan of putting people to work.
Additionally, cost-of-living increases for Social Security purposes was about 2.5 percent in 2008 and 5.4 percent this year. Assuming similar results going ahead, the county employees would be about 8 percent behind today's income levels in 2010 without salary increases and 3 percent behind the current levels if given their agreed upon pay increases.
I like my county employees and don't want to see them abused in this manner. They need and deserve their pay.
The stock market declined 40 percent in the 12 months preceding Obama so there's much more to be concerned with.
The question is not will the Obama plan work. The real question is whether state and local officials will allow it to succeed? Let it work without subtracting locally so as to negate any benefit that might accrue.
Kenneth L. Heim