A mid-Missouri state lawmaker says next year’s budget looks tough for state employee pay raises.

State Rep. Mike Bernskoetter (left) and Jefferson City Mayor Carrie Tergin address a House committee in 2017 (file photo courtesy of Tim Bommel at Missouri House Communications)

About 14,000 state employees work in Cole County, making state government the largest employer in Jefferson City.

State employees did not receive a pay increase in the fiscal year 2018 budget, which began on July 1.

State Rep. Mike Bernskoetter, R-Jefferson City, says the budget will also be tough next year.

“And I’d just like to sit down with some of the (state) departments, and you know, if we’re not able to give state employees raises give them some other kind of incentives like being able to work from home or more flex time, those type of things,” Bernskoetter says.

Bernskoetter chairs the Joint Interim Committee on State Employee Wages. State Rep. Jay Barnes, R-Jefferson City, and State Sen. Jeanie Riddle, R-Mokane, also serve on the committee.

“That’s (14,000 state employees working in Cole County) a huge block of people that work for the state government, so anything we can do to improve their pay or their benefits or incentivize them in some way would be great,” says Bernskoetter.

Bernskoetter, who represents Cole and Miller counties in the House, tells Missourinet state employees will benefit from retirement bills approved by the Legislature this year.

Missourinet also reached out to House Budget Committee Chairman Scott Fitzpatrick, R-Shell Knob, about the state employee pay raise issue for next year.

“That possibility is going to be entirely based on revenues and growth in mandatory spending. It will be a high priority for me with any available discretionary funding we have available,” Fitzpatrick says.

Fitzpatrick’s southwest Missouri district includes Barry, Lawrence and Stone counties.

Missouri has an approximately $27 billion state operating budget.