Dedicated public servants
As legislators make critical decisions within a 140-day legislative session that ends in late May, it's important to acknowledge the contributions of the nearly 150,000 state employees who carry out the Legislature's assigned missions 365 days a year.
Their work touches our lives daily. State employees design and build our roads, regulate child care providers, and provide countless other essential state services efficiently and at the best possible value to the taxpayer.
The pensions and health insurance benefits state employees work so hard to earn offset infrequent pay raises and salaries that private-sector employees would scoff at, particularly given the ever-increasing cost of living.
In fact, most people are surprised to learn that state employees have not seen an increase in take-home pay since September 2014 and that more than 70 percent make less than $49,500 a year.
Most people would struggle to support a family on that income. So why do many Texans still choose to work for the state?
As executive director of the nonunion Texas Public Employees Association, I can tell you it's because they are dedicated public servants and that is something citizens and lawmakers alike should respect.
We must recognize state employees' contributions and treat them with the dignity befitting any group of hardworking professionals.