JUNEAU, Alaska — State legislative leaders want Gov. Sean Parnell to "hold the line" in talks with Alaska Marine Highway unions.

The state is negotiating new contracts with unions representing ferry workers.

The lawmakers, in a letter, note the Senate rejected pay raises for state commissioners. They said highly-paid staff are least able to justify pay increases "in austere times." They say they hear from constituents on the high cost of operating the ferry system and encouraged Parnell to "consider fiscally prudent monetary terms" in negotiations.

The lawmakers say they value ferry system employees but say making it "more and more expensive to keep them employed will ultimately not be in their best interests."

The letter was signed by the House speaker, Senate president and co-chairs of the House and Senate Finance committees.