Via press release from the House Democratic Caucus communications office
With the state revenues seeing unprecedented growth, Kentucky House Democratic Caucus Chair Derrick Graham said it is “past time to give our state workers what they deserve: A raise.” His legislation – House Bill 209 – would make that possible by budgeting $163 million in state dollars for the next two years.
“The state used to give five percent raises annually, but that stopped 20 years ago,” Rep. Graham said. “Our state employees stood with us as we dealt with multiple recessions and other rising costs, and I saw those sacrifices first-hand as state representative for Frankfort, the heart and home of state government. During the past 22 months, they have more than proven how essential they are by continuing to do an outstanding job during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now that the state is seeing budget reserves nearing $3 billion, it’s time we help those who have done so much to help all of us. These annual five percent raises would do just that.”
House Bill 209 would apply to all three branches of state government, and in addition to the state tax dollars, the bill also would set aside $115 million over the two fiscal years in federal, restricted and road money, reflecting the fact that many state employees are paid from those funds as well.
“There’s no question we have the money, and there’s no question about its need,” Rep. Graham said. “If we don’t provide these raises, we risk losing more employees to the private sector, which will make it that much tougher for state government to serve the commonwealth. The question is not whether we can afford to provide this salary increase, but whether we can afford not to.”