A bit of soul searching

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Matt Murphy of the Lowell Sun writes today on an issue that Pioneer has been banging the drum on for some time: the growth in the state’s payroll notwithstanding the fact that we are in a recession. (See our Countdown to Fiscal Sanity, item #9, for more.) Murphy notes that

While many private-sector companies continue to shed jobs at alarming rates, state employees have been largely spared the anxiety of getting a pink slip.

The state payroll, in fact, has grown by about 2,200 employees since the recession came to Massachusetts last fall, leaving roughly 98,278 workers dependent on the state for a paycheck, according to payroll records that include the University of Massachusetts and other public colleges.

Meanwhile, Fall River’s and New Bedford’s mayors are cutting deep into core services because of local aid cuts. Whatever happened to shared sacrifice?

And what is this curiously limited talking point that the Governor’s office keeps putting out there? According to Kimberly Haberlin, spokeswoman for the governor,

“He did not make decisions to reduce the state’s work force lightly, recognizing the valuable service state employees provide and knowing that behind every cut is a family or a worker.”

The Governor has elsewhere talked about there being a “human soul” behind every state job. Questions: Isn’t there a family, worker and/or human soul behind every private sector job? Won’t higher sales taxes kill at least a certain number of those jobs? And why are state souls better than private sector souls?