JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Lawmakers are moving closer to raising wages for state workers, but according to what was approved Monday, not all employees will see more money in their pay slips.
Governor Mike Parson asked members of the General Assembly to increase the wages of all state employees to $15 an hour. He demanded that the legislation be passed and be on his desk by February 1. Instead, members of the House Budget Committee would just vote to let frontline workers get the job. salary increase.
“The total on the House Alternatives Committee is slightly less than what the governor asked for,” said House Budget Committee Chairman Cody Smith, R-Carthage. “The intent here is to provide a base salary of $15 an hour for direct care workers at agencies that are taking care of people through the state government.”
Missouri employs more than 50,000 state workers, and they are among the lowest paid in the nation. Governor Mike Kehoe told the committee Monday that he had seen state employees in a grocery store in the Jefferson City area that had to use food stamps.
“I’m a conservative, small business person. I hate taxes,” Kehoe said. “I hate throwing money at things just to solve a problem, but our public servants need a correction and that’s my opinion.”
The governor’s proposal includes a 5.5% cost of living adjustment and a $15 an hour minimum wage. Those increases are expected to be worth $91 million this year and $218 next year, but under legislation passed Monday, only front-line workers will see those increases.
“It would be an unfair advantage to artificially raise the wages of the state workforce for minimum-wage jobs where they don’t necessarily pay $15 an hour for a worker,” Smith said. job 12 dollars an hour.
The pay increase is part of an additional $5.3 billion bill, which also includes billions of dollars in federal funding for public schools and money for Medicaid.
State budget director Dan Haug previously told the committee that there are more than 4,000 job openings across the state government. State workers got a 2% increase at the start of the year, but Parson said the only way to compete was for higher wages. He said he hoped lawmakers would pass the request and have it on his desk by February 1, but that deadline has come and gone.
“We got feedback from the department that if this increase doesn’t go into effect, they’re asking people who are willing to quit now and just keep their promise that they’ll make a few bucks an hour. in their salaries,” Rep. Peter Merideth, D-St. Louis.
Instead, in an August 22 vote, only employees who work in “direct care” roles or agencies such as the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) or in the homes of veterans. State warriors get a raise. The remaining state workers, increased 5.5% and set the base wage at $12 an hour.
“Instead of those people getting what the governor is offering, which is above the 20% increase at the end, we’re going to show them, if they’re making $12 an hour right now, you’ll just received Merideth said salary increase 5.5%.
Haug also told the commission last month, across all state agencies, the turnover rate was 26%. He said the industry standard is 10%.
“The chance is at least a raise for our state’s employees, where they can have a few extra dollars in their pocket, where they don’t have to rob Peter to pay Paul, and you’re talking about men and women. the hardest worker of the state, keeping his status active,” said Representative Rasheen Aldridge, D-St. Louis.
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