It seems that the “messaging” strategy for GOP legislative leaders in the wake of the recently adjourned legislative session is coming into focus: 1) Call Governor Perdue unflattering names; 2) deny inconvenient facts by simply saying the opposite over and over. Witness the repeated and nonsensical assertion by (Double)Speaker Thom Tillis and others that the GOP budget will not result in thousands of lost education jobs.
This morning we got to see another case in point in the context of an interview Tillis gave to the Asheville Citizen-Times. In the interview, Tillis attempted to defend the huge raises he provided to his staff this session. This is from the article:
“On the widely criticized raises, the Mecklenburg County management consultant said he gave initial lower probationary salaries to staff and now some were getting increases based on performance.
His personnel are now paid well, including chief of staff Charles Thomas of Buncombe County, whose salary jumped from $120,000 to $150,000. But his payroll has fewer people and fewer overall costs than that of former Democratic Speaker Joe Hackney, current Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger or Gov. Bev Perdue, Tillis said.” (Emphasis supplied).
Got that? According to Tillis he has fewer people and spends less money than his Democratic predecessor.
Now check out this straightforward article that ran in Raleigh’s News & Observer a couple of weeks ago.
Here’s what it found:
Tillis – 15 employees who are collectively paid $1,065,126.12 per year.
Hackney – 13 employees who made a total of $807,000. If two of the 13 employees who in reality only worked part-time are counted as full-time for budgeting purposes, the total goes up to $969,874.36.
Totals – This means that Tillis has two more employees and will, at the current pace, spend around 10% more than Hackney’s total potential budget and 32% more than what Hackney actually spent.
How does this guy continue to get away with this?