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Gary D. Schlagel letter: Leafy spurge award to the editorial staff

I believe the Forum editorial staff deserves a leafy spurge award for the leafy spurge award they gave Senate Majority Leader Bob Stenehjem and Chris Runge of The North Dakota Public Employees Association for making sure the loyal public servants...

I believe the Forum editorial staff deserves a leafy spurge award for the leafy spurge award they gave Senate Majority Leader Bob Stenehjem and Chris Runge of The North Dakota Public Employees Association for making sure the loyal public servants of the citizens of the great state of North Dakota would not have to pay part of their health insurance premiums.

It is quite apparent Stenehjem realizes that the public employees gave up a pay raise during the Allen Olson administration in order to have their health insurance premiums paid. Stenehjem should be commended for making sure the Legislature honored this agreement with its employees.

I am sure if some honest numbers-cruncher was to sit down and figure it out, the state probably has come out ahead over the years if the past raise was to be multiplied out by the percentage increases over the past 16 to 18 years, plus the Social Security taxes, Medicare taxes and unemployment taxes that the state is obligated to pay on salaries.

The employees most likely are going to give up a salary increase again in order to maintain full payment of the health insurance premiums. For The Forum editorial staff to expect us to take net salary decrease is completely ludicrous. For many it would be a hardship. Not all state employees make huge salaries. Probably half are barely getting by.

The editorial staff would do well to do a little investigative work and some arithmetic before making such a blanket statement.

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A proud and getting by state employee.

Gary D. Schlagel

Valley City, N.D.

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