The Missouri House of Representatives has passed Gov. Mike Parson’s request for a state worker pay increase. The plan comes as the state grapples with about 7,000 open positions.
It includes an 8.7% pay increase and a $2-per-hour bump in pay for group care employees working nights at places like state prisons and veterans homes.
The pay increase is part of a $627 million bill requesting extra spending in the current state budget year.
Missouri House Budget Committee Chairman Cody Smith, R-Carthage, is the bill sponsor.
“I want to point out to the body that when I started here, 2017 was my first year. The state budget was less than $30 billion,” said Smith. “The governor’s recommendations this year are over $50 billion. We have to make tradeoffs. We can’t spend our way out of all society’s problems.”
State Representative Peter Merideth, D-St. Louis, supports the pay increase proposal but said Missouri will still fall behind private industries.
The bill also includes $20 million in public school safety grants.
“This is something that the governor asked for and that we do know is an emergency. These are much, much needed raises. But I also want to stress what the governor himself said to us when he presented these to us in his State of the State, that this is a baseline and really the bare minimum of what’s needed. If we really want to address the problem we have with our state workforce, we need to go a lot further,” said Merideth.
The next stop for House Bill 14 is the Missouri Senate.
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