What a long strange, road it has been for the 2007 federal pay raise. But with all the twists and turns, and the fact that the calendar on your desk is about to start showing 2007 instead of 2006, the saga may not be at an end.
President Bush issued an executive order yesterday putting the 2.2% average federal pay raise in effect in January. With locality pay rates, some federal employees will get more money and many will get less.
Perhaps to show a little humility and sacrifice, and to show they feel the pain of the average man in the street, Congress does not get its new pay raise right away. Congress is planning on raising the minimum wage early in the next session. With this display of a common touch with the voters, Congress opted to put off its pay increases until February 16th. Congressional representatives will have to get by on a salary of $168,000 beginning in mid-February.
According to the Washington Post, the new pay raise will put federal employees in the Washington, DC metropolitan area in pretty good shape as the average federal employee there will now making $89,128 in 2007.
Some readers will undoubtedly be wondering, “Does the issuing of a the Executive Order bring this year’s pay raise exercise to a close?”
Maybe it does but, then again, it may not be over yet either. There will be an attempt to bring the federal pay raise up a notch to 2.7% in the new Congress. The politics of doing that will be difficult as military personnel are getting an average raise of 2.2%. (See “Do You Still Want Pay Parity?“) So a higher raise for 2007 is still a possibility but don’t plan on having anything more than the 2.2% average in your wallet when your credit card bills arrive at your doorstep in January.
Pay for federal employees is always a source of controversy. Federal employee unions are bemoaning a raise of 2.2% for 2007. On the other hand, a report from the Cato Institute referred to federal employees as an “elite island of secure and high paid workers” with pay and benefits that is way ahead of the average American taxpayer.
No doubt, most readers come out on the side of being in favor of getting a bigger check in 2007. So, while enjoying your Christmas dinner and opening your gifts this year, perhaps the thought a raise for next year will make your day a little brighter.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all of our readers.