Missouri legislature approves state worker raises of nearly 9%
The Missouri legislature passed a supplemental budget bill Wednesday that funds state worker raises.
Because no changes were made to the House version, the legislation now goes to Gov. Mike Parson, who’s expected to sign it. It passed 29-4.
Parson announced his recommendation for raises in January and gave lawmakers a March 1 deadline to pass them.
Under the legislation, state workers would see an 8.7% cost-of-living adjustment. Additionally, some people would also earn an extra $2 an hour for working late-night or overnight shifts.
Those qualified for that additional raise include certain staff members in the departments of Social Services, Corrections and Mental Health and for the Missouri Veterans Commission.
Appropriations Chairman Lincoln Hough, R-Springfield, said lawmakers have listened to state departments repeatedly speak on the struggle to retain and recruit employees.
“Hopefully the communication to our state workers is that we do value the work that you're doing. We don't take you for granted," he said. "And we're trying to make steps in the right direction to get you the compensation that you need.”
The bulk of the nearly $627 million supplemental budget goes toward that pay plan, though the House did remove raises for statewide elected officials and lawmakers.
Sen. Rick Brattin, R-Harrisonville, voted against the bill. He said while he wanted state workers to be paid their worth, he did not approve of what he believes is the continued expansion of state government.
“Have we bloated and gone out of control and to where we have so many positions that we don't even know who's who or why we even have these positions,” Brattin said.
Included in the bill is $20 million for school safety grants, $275 million in spending authority for the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency and funding for other projects.