Solothurn Decides Limits the Number of State Employees

Solothurn Decides Limits the Number of State Employees

Thu, Feb 8th 2024

Solothurn faces a pivotal vote on March 3 to potentially cap the canton’s government workforce, aligning staff numbers with population growth.

Solothurn’s electorate will vote on March 3 regarding a proposed cap on the canton’s government employment levels. The FDP’s “So lean. So strong.” (the 1:85 initiative) suggests a future cap where the canton can only employ one worker for every 85 residents.

Launched by an FDP-led committee with 3,321 validated signatures in May, the initiative addresses concerns over an expanding government sector. From 2010 to 2020, the count of full-time government positions in Solothurn escalated from 2,864 to 3,344, outpacing the growth rate of the Solothurn population. The proposal advocates tying employment levels to population growth, aiming to sustain the canton’s long-term vitality and strength.

However, the Finance Director of FDP, Peter Hodel, highlighted in the cantonal council discussions that 90% of these positions are legally mandated, warning of potential service cutbacks. Outsourcing could escalate taxpayer burdens, he argued. Implementing the initiative could slash over 140 jobs in two years, significantly diminishing state-provided services.

Political divisions have surfaced, with the FDP and SVP backing the initiative while center and left-wing factions oppose it. The SP warns of drastic state reductions, and the Greens criticize the fixed quota as detrimental to the canton. A collective statement from the Center, EVP, and GLP branded the initiative as “unnecessary and counterproductive,” praising Solothurn as among the “leanest cantons” with a modest staffing budget, deeming the initiative a baseless mistrust towards state employees.


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