Budget includes 3 percent raise for state workers

Gov. Jay Nixon delivers the State of the State address. Nixon called for raises for state employees.

Gov. Jay Nixon delivers the State of the State address. Nixon called for raises for state employees. Kile Brewer

State employees would get a 3 percent “cost of living adjustment” pay raise, starting next Jan. 1, under Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon’s proposed $27.667 billion budget.

But Senate Appropriations Chairman Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, said: “I think the appropriate thing to do is look at those areas that are still grossly, disproportionately underfunded — and look at that first, before we do an across-the-board (raise).

“Remember, we gave everybody who makes under $70,000 a 2 percent raise last year. Also, everybody got a $500 across-the-board increase as well.”

State Budget Director Linda Luebbering told reporters Tuesday evening, during a briefing before Nixon’s State of the State address, that he also is recommending “re-instating the deferred compensation match” to employees’ extra contributions to their retirement accounts.

And, she said: “We are recommending, for the fourth year in a row, to hold premiums ‘flat’ for employees who are in the Missouri Consolidated Health Care program — so they will not see an increase in their premiums for health care.”

Additionally, Luebbering said, Nixon’s budget proposes extra pay increases for “particular job categories, where we have a hard time either finding people or retaining them — Children’s Services workers, Youth Service workers, nurses.”

The governor’s plan for nurses especially targets nurses at Fulton State Hospital in either the maximum or intermediate security unit, she said.

He proposes “a special differential for them, because they work in such a challenging environment,” she said.

But, the governor also noted during his address: “I am proposing a balanced budget that holds the line on taxes — and continues to downsize government, cutting 81 more positions from state payrolls.

“By the end of this fiscal year, we will have reduced the state workforce by 4,600 full-time employees.”

As usual, some agencies will gain employees while others lose.

Luebbering told reporters the job cuts all should come through attrition. The biggest reduction comes at the state Social Services department, she said, with 121 fewer positions.

“That is the continued downsizing of the Family Support Division, as envisioned as we improved their technology,” she explained.

The governor’s budget includes $490 million more for all areas of public education, with $278 million targeted to increase the state’s contributions to the funding formula for elementary and secondary schools.

At the college level, Lincoln University would receive a $329,240 boost in state aid, while Linn State Technical College would get $144,890 more.

Linn State’s total proposed state support is $5,103,900, with all of its increase based on performance funding.

Lincoln’s total $18,721,469 in state support includes a total of $554,100 based on performance; another $529,147 for science, technology, engineering and math programs; and $172,960 for helping the state get more mental health workers.

Related news coverage:

Nixon's address proposes $278 million school aid hike

Nixon pushing bonds to pay for Fulton hospital

Nixon: Failing to expand Medicaid punishing Missourians

Speaker Jones delivers Republican response to State of the State

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