Sen. Nofs offers statement on vote to freeze public employee pay increase

LANSING — After the Michigan Senate failed to obtain the two-thirds vote necessary to prevent a 3 percent pay raise for unionized state employees, despite a $1.4 billion deficit, Sen. Mike Nofs, R-Battle Creek, offered the following comments:

"When campaigning for the Senate last fall, I was proud to have earned the support of thousands of state union employees. With their help, I was fortunate enough to become senator of the 19th District. It was therefore a difficult decision to vote today to freeze a three percent pay increase for those state employees, and one I took no joy in making. As a former state employee myself, I know first hand the terrific work our state employees do and I appreciate the importance of the bargaining process which resulted in the proposed pay increase.

"However, I ran on a platform of job creation. It is no secret that Michigan has the worst unemployment rate in the nation and has held that position for far too long. I believe that getting Michigan residents back to work and keeping those that are employed on the job is our highest priority. We cannot afford even one more worker out in the street looking for a job, wondering if he will be able to pay his bills, or if she will get called back to work or be forced to start over in a new career. This is the current economic reality of our state. These are the realities that must be faced as we tackle yet another year of significant budget shortfalls. So when considering today’s vote to freeze a pay increase, I also considered that doing so will likely help keep my constituents who have a job on the job. And that is far better than the possible alternative. That is why I voted in support of this resolution."