Missouri Senate will look at pay raise options

The House-passed budget includes a $500 a year pay raise for all state employees.

But Senate Appropriations Chairman Kurt Schaefer said Tuesday that may not be the final word.

“We’re going to look at the governor’s proposed increase and the $500 that the House put in there —and then we have to look at the overall cost of both,” Schaefer, R-Columbia, told the News Tribune. “Then we’ll look at some of the other things that were shifted around, both by the governor and by the House, and see how much money is in the state budget to fund those things that we need to fund — including whether or not there are sufficient funds to pay for pay increase as proposed by the governor or the House.”

In his State of the State address last January, Gov. Jay Nixon proposed a 2 percent pay raise for all state employees — starting next Jan. 1, six months after the state’s business year begins on July 1, 2013.

Nixon made a similar proposal a year ago, but lawmakers eventually gave a 2 percent raise beginning July 1, 2012 — for state employees earning $70,000 a year or less.

“Obviously, it’s relevant what we did last year,” Schaefer said. “But, as we look at what is proposed by the governor this time around, as well as what was contemplated by the House, I think it’s a different issue (than last year). ...

“Obviously, the cost is less (with) the House proposal.”

The House just last week passed the bills making up the state’s $25 billion operating budget for the 2013-14 business year.

They officially were assigned to the Appropriations Committee on Tuesday afternoon.

The state Constitution requires lawmakers to complete this year’s budget debates — including reaching compromises between the House and Senate versions of the spending bills — and send them to Nixon no later than 6 p.m. May 10.

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