A single minded work force of some 19,000 men and women whose financial well being is tied to the politics of the state is a powerful voice in the government and one to be recond with at election time when the political gold of votes, endorsements and financial aide is to be considered.
Yes, they do have some grivances to be addressed and the biggest is “…Like most state workers, corrections employees haven’t had a general pay raise in six years. This year, they also are taking what amounts to a 3 percent pay cut due to a new pension contribution requirement…..” There is also the problem of “…The Republican-controlled Legislature could revive the privatization plan by passing such a law when it convenes its 2012 session in January….”
The privatization plan would place close to 50% of the state prisons in private hands. These are the prisons in the more populous regions of the state that could draw a non-union work force from large metro areas. This leaves the prison in the rural areas where the politics of prisons is stronger untouched.
Without a doubt, the new gambling initiatives and prison privatization issues will make this a roaring session for the legislature where lots of money will flow.