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Final budget includes governor's state pay plan

The Missouri Legislature’s final budget, sent to Gov. Jay Nixon Thursday evening, made no changes to the state employees’ pay plan the governor proposed last January.

With a few exceptions, all state employees will receive a $500 raise — starting next Jan. 1.

“I’m happy that we’re able to get a little bit of something in there,” state Sen. Mike Kehoe said, “even if it does just help offset another cost that they’re incurring.”

The exceptions to this year’s pay plan include larger raises for nurses, including those working in state veterans homes and mental health facilities.

“Frontline” employees in several departments — including Public Safety, Social Services and Mental Health — are getting a 4 percent salary increase.

Appropriations Chairman Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, said many of the Mental Health workers affected are “mostly those at the Fulton State Hospital ... where it’s very, very hard to get people into those positions and retain them.”

Corrections officers I and II get an additional $150 annual increase, starting July 1.

Bank examiners in the Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration department also got an extra pay boost.

And the attorney general’s office is hiring 20 new attorneys for the Consumer Protection division, using money “from a special fund that he already has for merchandising practices,” Schaefer said.

All of the raises and additional employees’ salaries will cost state government more than $30 million.

Kehoe, R-Jefferson City, is an Appropriations Committee member and served on the conference committees that approved the final plan.

“We’ve got to get back to the entire, holistic look of what our state pay plan is about,” he said, “and get away from these ‘We give 2 percent this year and a flat pay (that) year, and then we go a couple of years and we don’t have anything.’

“I’m still a big fan of trying to take a look at a 10- or 15-year approach to how we arrange our compensation plan for all state employees — not only for the ones that are working here, but also for the people we want to attract to come work for the state.”

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