Topeka Senate Republican leaders on Friday showed no appetite for a proposal by House Republican leaders to cut the pay of state employees by $19 million.
“For us to decrease their pay is not the way we should be going,” said Senate President Steve Morris, R-Hugoton.
This week, the House Appropriations Committee approved a plan to cut on a sliding scale the salaries of state employees making more than $40,000 per year, up to 7.5 percent for those earning more than $100,000 per year.
The cut would apply to state officers, including legislators, justices and judges, statewide elected officials, and statutory agency heads.
But the Appropriations Committee voted to exempt legislative staff from the pay cut.
Senate Vice President John Vratil, R-Leawood, a member of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, said no one on the committee was interested in cutting the pay of rank-and-file state employees.
The Ways and Means Committee proposal includes only a 7.5 percent cut to state officers.
Both plans are expected to be debated next week in the full House and Senate and probably end up in a conference committee for lengthy negotiations.
Democrats have been critical of attempts by House Republican leaders to cut state workers’ pay.
“I am very concerned about the message we are sending to faculty and researchers,” said House Democratic Leader Paul Davis of Lawrence.