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Press Release: API States Opposition to Public-Sector Pay Raises: “Now is not the time.”

Birmingham, Ala. – Today (March 15, 2021), the Alabama Policy Institute (API) announced its opposition to legislative proposals to fund pay increases in the public sector at a time when the private sector is still reeling from government action in the pandemic. Currently before the Alabama State Senate is legislation that would implement a 2% across-the-board pay raise for public education employees, including teachers and support staff. An appropriation for the pay raise will likely be included in the Education Trust Fund Budget (SB189). Both bills will be considered by the Senate Finance and Taxation Education Committee on Tuesday (March 16).

“Education employees received raises totaling 6.5% over two of the last three years,” said Phil Williams, Chief Policy Officer for API and a former State Senator. “But the idea that another 2% will be added when many of those education personnel, especially support personnel, have been on leave for the pandemic for much of the last year is a hard pill to swallow for the private sector.”

Few would deny the challenges faced by Alabama teachers in the past 12 months, but economic uncertainty remains. The private sector has borne the brunt of the economic effects caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, while state government has received billions of dollars in federal intervention and increased revenues to both the General Fund and Education Trust Fund.

While the public sector has prospered, many Alabamians continue to struggle to keep their businesses afloat and make ends meet – a struggle which was in no small part worsened by the decisions of state and local government officials.

“The mere fact that we have money does not mean it has to spent – especially on enduring costs for the budget,” Carl Jones, Chief Operating Officer for API, stated. “The real focus as conservatives needs to be on removing impediments to private sector growth such as tax relief and loosening regulatory burdens.”

The Alabama Policy Institute believes that to propose an increase to public sector salaries when so many in the private sector are reeling is tone-deaf to the broader public and is not representative of sound conservative fiscal policy.

Founded in 1989, API is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit research and educational organization dedicated to strengthening free enterprise, defending limited government, and championing strong families. 

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