Missouri state employees would not receive a pay raise in the fiscal year starting July 1 under the budget awaiting action by Governor Jay Nixon (D), but it would pay for a look at how they’re paid.
The proposal includes $300,000 to pay for a study of the total compensation Missouri state workers receive, compared to that of workers in other states and the private sector.
Many of the state’s workers are in the district of Jefferson City Senator Mike Kehoe (R), who thinks that study would help make the argument for raises.
“We would like to be able to go with a good business case to our colleagues from the rest of the state to show them why our state employees need a better compensation package,” said Kehoe.
He hopes the study will be paid for this year. Nixon vetoed it last year.
Kehoe says Missouri needs to compete with other states and the private sector, especially for highly technical jobs, many of which the state struggles to keep filled.
“We want to be able to try to, again, provide a career path for state employees so they understand what a career with the state can be like, and make it a career,” Kehoe told reporters.
Missouri generally ranks near the lowest in pay for state employees among the 50 states, but Kehoe says that’s only one measurement.
“Looking how we rank in our peer group – other states of population and size of government, etcetera. Budgets that we have – I also think that will be an interesting piece to look at,” said Kehoe.
Kehoe believes money could be found for pay raises without raising revenue through a long-term plan of using technology and attrition to create smaller, more efficient workforces.
“Slowly but surely right-size your workforce and you can use the savings from that to reinvest in the workforce that’s left, giving them piece of mind in what a career path looks like with the State of Missouri,” said Kehoe.