Oregon's Republican leadership was quick to decry the small bonuses that state employees received in lieu of pay raises. Well, surprise! It turns out that the Legislature's Republican leaders distributed far larger bonuses - plus raises - to some aides and legislative employees.

Taxpayers can debate whether any bonuses were appropriate. But if legislative Republican leaders thought that more money was right for some legislative employees, then the Oregon Republican Party was wrong to attack the tiny bonuses given to rank-and-file state workers and managers. Most state employees had their pay frozen because of the state financial emergency. ... Then-House Republican Leader Tim Knopp approved a far-sweeter deal for some folks: bonuses averaging $3,500, plus $175 monthly raises, for six aides. Pay raises averaging 5.2 percent also went to some employees of Republican House Speaker Karen Minnis, the Senate Republican Office, Secretary of the Senate, and the legislative counsel, revenue and fiscal offices. Knopp reportedly wanted to make sure that the aides had money to survive temporarily if their jobs were eliminated, which didn't happen. So what about all the state employees, teachers and other public servants whose jobs are on the line in the Feb. 3 tax referendum? They would seem even more deserving than legislative aides.

Republican leaders have given voters one more reason they should endorse Measure 30 instead of falling for opponents' double talk.

- The (Salem) Statesman-Journal


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