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Archive for Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Budget-writers lay out 2 percent raises

April 3, 2007

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— State workers would get a 2 percent pay raise and $860 bonus under a compromise hammered out by House and Senate budget-writers Monday.

The $44.3 million deal would apply to the fiscal year that starts July 1. The bonus payments would be paid Dec. 14.

"We made progress," House Appropriations Chairwoman Sharon Schwartz, R-Washington, said after lengthy meetings with Senate budget conferees.

In addition, the pay plan would give an extra 5 percent raise to 1,533 state workers whose pay has been deemed significantly below the private sector. It also provides an increase from $40 to $50 for longevity pay.

For Kansas University employees, the salary increase and bonus funds would be pooled and sent to the university as part of the school's block grant. University administrators then will make the decision on the size of pay raises.

The pay plan is part of a proposed state budget that, once finalized in conference committee, will go to the full House and Senate for consideration, which could happen as early as today.

The pay proposal also would establish a commission that would work to develop a new state pay system.

State Rep. Lee Tafanelli, R-Ozawkie, vice chairman of the Appropriations Committee, said the commission was an important factor that will lead to long-term changes in the how employees are compensated.

"The main thing that we were after is that we acknowledge that there are problems with the state pay plan. We need to correct those problems, and I think the core of that is there, so we're good with it," Tafanelli said.

At the outset, the House and Senate were far apart on proposed pay raises.

House Republicans had proposed a 1 percent salary increase, $1,450 one-time salary bonus and an additional 5 percent increase for those whose job classes are substantially below the average market pay.

But the Senate had offered a 3 percent pay raise and additional 5 percent increase to those way below market average.

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