Published March 22, 2009
Tucked away in Sunday's Vindicator (Page B3) is a story out of Columbus with this headline: "Review finds that state spends more than $1M in free parking." The story spotlights the extent to which many public sector employees are pampered. Working for government and other entities means never having to say no — to exorbitant salaries, benefits, pensions and things like free parking.
It is pertinent that Sunday night on CBS' 60 Minutes, President Barack Obama advised Wall Street types who see nothing wrong in grabbing huge bonuses to leave New York and visit Main Street America. His message was clear: There is a disconnect between the high flyers of Wall Street and the common folk who are struggling to make ends meet.
That's why free parking for public employees is such a bitter pill to swallow for those in the private sector who have to pay for parking. At a time of tight budgets across the board, perks must be the first things that go.
Every public employee on the local, state and national levels who gets free parking should be made to pay — as a sign of solidarity with those who work for nothing more than their salaries.
By the way, the story out of Columbus was written by Mark Niquette of the Columbus Dispatch. Niquette is a former political reporter for The Vindicator. He's quite familiar with the excesses of government — in the Mahoning Valley, to be sure.