A group of Missouri lawmakers are meeting Wednesday to learn about the findings of a study on state employee pay.
Research conducted this year shows Missouri ranks last in the country in compensating state workers. Representative Scott Fitzpatrick is not a member of the panel looking into the matter, but plans to use his position as the new House Budget Committee chairman to improve employee pay.
“I’m a business owner” said Fitzpatrick. “I know that you can’t pay the worst of anybody in the country and expect that your talented people are going to stick around for a long time. I know we’re fortunate in Missouri. We have a lot of good state employees, but I think that retention, and things like that, would be better if we could pay them a little bit better.”
Average pay for Missouri state employees is just over $39,500. Neighboring Iowa has the county’s highest average compensation at more than $70,000. The numbers reflect adjustments to account for each state’s cost of labor.
The study also shows the state pays its workers below the market value within the state, especially for higher level positions. The state’s benefits package narrows the total compensation wage gap to the market, but the gulf remains significant “at the top of the pay scale” according to the study.
The research was conducted by CBIZ, which describes itself as an accounting provider and employee benefits specialist. Six lawmakers – four Republicans and two Democrats – who make up the Joint Interim Committee on State Employee Wages, will hear a presentation from CBIZ about its study.
The report say initial costs to implement new structures to offset low worker wages would be approximately $13,690,388.