For too long now, state employees have been forced to do more with less, even as we see hundreds of millions of dollars being spent annually on personal service contracts and favored employees get rewarded with high salaries and steep raises. At the same time, this year’s new tax plan – approved with no public input at all – raises taxes on 95 percent of us even as many state government services are cut by more than six percent.

This is not how state government should be run – or funded. It is time we truly tackle tax reform, so that the system is both broader and fairer. And we need to make it easier for state employees to do the job they were hired to do. With some agencies having had their budgets cuts by a third or more over the past decade, we simply cannot expect them to provide the same level of services the public expects. It is time they also receive a decent raise; far too many years have passed since the state was able to provide one across-the-board.