FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 15, 2011
following is a statement in response to Governor Hickenlooper’s proposed fiscal
year 2011-12 budget from Robert Gibson, executive director of Colorado WINS.
faces tough times and many Coloradans are hurting. Over the past three years
state workers have absorbed cuts to help balance our budget – furlough days,
pay cuts and cuts to benefits. Governor Hickenlooper’s budget proposal includes
a 4.5% pay cut to state workers at a time when too many of these workers are
already struggling to pay bills and rent. Some are even being forced to claim
bankruptcy, use food banks to feed their families, and work second jobs to
scrape out an existence.
Acosta has worked for the state for twelve years; the last six as a lead
custodian at CU Boulder and in that time he hasn’t received a raise. He is
married with four children. His wife works nights at a local hospital to save
on child care costs. His youngest child, just three months old was born with a
bone out of place which has meant frequent visits to the hospital. Alex can’t
afford the $40 co-pay for these visits, so he has to put them on his credit card.
Money is so tight that he now visits the local food bank regularly in order to
feed his family.
Alex’s story isn’t unique among state workers. The 4.5% pay cut for state
workers that Governor Hickenlooper proposes will have devastating impacts on
many of these workers and their families.
and freezes to state services, like health services, corrections and state
parks, over the past few years have also taken their toll. Significant staffing
shortages at the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo have led to unsafe
working conditions and three patient deaths in the last year.
Hickenlooper’s budget proposal highlights the choice that Coloradans and our
elected leaders must make. Do we want to live in a state where our children and
families have access to quality education, health care, roads and public safety
or in a state where only the most fortunate have access to these services and
oppose these proposed cuts as they will further hurt our ability to provide
essential state services to Coloradans. We oppose these proposed budget cuts
because too many state workers and their families, like the Acostas, are
already struggling just to make ends meet.
Workers for Innovations and New Solutions (WINS) represents more than 31,000
state employees who work
to ensure our quality of life in communities across the state.
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