Saving Your Tax Dollars
I wanted to make sure you saw the front-page article in today’s Richmond Times-Dispatch about the Governor’s initiative to incentivize state employees to save your hard-earned tax dollars.
The standard operating procedure in state government has long been for bureaucracies to rush to spend every dollar they have before the close of the year, so that they could make the case for getting a greater level of funding the following year.
The result? Year after year, state government gets bigger and bigger.
The Governor is committed to putting an end to that practice, and to fundamentally reforming state government. To do that he proposed an idea long-employed in the private sector: provide a financial incentive to encourage employees to save money.
With the General Assembly’s strong bipartisan support, the Governor was successful in gaining approval to use a portion of unspent agency balances to provide a one-time, non-recurring bonus for state employees.
The result? This year state workers saved $175 million, and tomorrow will receive a one-time bonus that equals $82 million from the General Fund. The difference is millions in taxpayer savings!
This incentive program is just one of the many steps the Governor is taking to save taxpayer dollars, cut spending and make state government smaller and more efficient.
With the support of the General Assembly, Governor McDonnell was able to turn a $1.8 billion budget deficit into a $400 million surplus and cut $4.2 billion from the 2011-2012 budget, bringing state spending down to 2006 levels. Today, Virginia is one of only a handful of states with a budget surplus.
Now, Governor McDonnell has taken another important and common-sense step towards fundamentally reforming state government.
Thank you for your continued support.
Opportunity Virginia PAC
You can read the full Richmond Times-Dispatch article here!
3 percent bonus going to 96,000 state workers this week
By TYLER WHITLEY | TIMES-DISPATCH STAFF WRITER
Full-time state employees will get an early present tomorrow—a 3 percent salary bonus in their paychecks.
The bonus will cost the state about $82.2 million and will go to about 96,000 employees. Part-time workers and statewide officeholders—Gov. Bob McDonnell, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli—will not be included.
State employees have not received a pay raise since November 2007. This will not be considered a pay raise, because the one-time bonus is not included in the salary base.
The bonus is 3 percent of an employee’s annual base pay rate. For example, if an employee makes $50,000, the bonus would be $1,500 before taxes.
The bonus will be included in tomorrow’s paycheck. There will be no separate check.
In February, during the General Assembly session, McDonnell proposed a 3 percent bonus to take effect in December 2011.
In hammering out the state’s budget, legislative negotiators moved the then-potential bonus forward a year. The bonus was to be paid if revenue from the fiscal year that ended June 30 would cover the cost.
During the legislature’s April veto session, McDonnell proposed specific language to allow unspent balances to be put toward the bonus, creating an incentive for state agencies to save money.
“This is conservative governing in action, providing public-sector employees with incentives to save and manage taxpayer dollars more efficiently and effectively,” Tucker Martin, director of communications for McDonnell, said yesterday.
“This is a success for demonstrating how private-sector practices can make government work better and smarter. This is a whole new model for how to do things in Richmond, and one that hopefully will be replicated nationally.
“In a tough economy, state employees returned $174.7 million to state coffers and demonstrated that governments can live within their means, just like families and businesses do every day.”
After McDonnell and the assembly cut almost $4 billion from the budget, the state wound up with a $403 million surplus in the two-year budget that ended June 30.
Also contributing to the surplus was a one-time acceleration of the state sales tax, which pulled 2010-11 sales tax revenues into the 2010 fiscal year.
Ron Jordan, lobbyist for the Virginia Governmental Employees Association, praised the move.
“The timing couldn’t be better, coming just before Christmas,” he said. “We worked very hard for it.”
The association, a state employee advocacy group, has about 20,000 members.
McDonnell has cautioned that the economy still is shaky and that state workers should not expect a pay raise for some time.
“We are still in tough financial times,” he said Sept. 30 on the “Ask the Governor” radio show on WRVA (1140 AM). “I don’t see any long-term pay raise in the near future.”