Rendell’s Taxpayer Snow Job: No-Work Pay-Day

The Patriot-News reported that when Gov. Rendell closed down state government for the recent snow storm, state workers would receive full pay for not working — costing the taxpayers upwards of $8 million!

My comment, believe it or not, sparked a bit of controversy.  Of course, a two sentence response cannot fully explain my position, so I’ve sent the following letter to the editor:

I would like to explain my criticism of Gov. Rendell for granting a work-free pay day for state government employees during the recent snow storm.

I understand and agree with Gov. Rendell’s decision to close state government due to the 18-inches of global warming on our roads. Keeping our highways free of state workers made them easier to clean so those in the private sector could get to work to keep paying their taxes.

Where the governor erred was in giving the taxpayers the $8 million bill for paying people not to work. While most private sector employees — and even other local government employees — were forced to take a personal or vacation day (or simply didn’t get paid) Rendell decided to give a freebie.  The work of state government didn’t cease because of snow — permits still need approval, payments need to be processed, and so forth — nor did taxpayers get a day off from paying taxes.

The appropriate response would have been to require this no-work pay-day to be made up to the taxpayers.  Gov. Rendell should have announced that state employees would need to report to work on President’s Day — or any one of the paid holidays they receive that don’t exist in the private sector.

This would have been fair to both state workers and the taxpayers of  Pennsylvania.