On Wednesday, the Joint Change in Employee Compensation Committee voted to accept Gov. Brad Little's recommendation of 4% merit-based increases and an additional 6% for law enforcement. This proposal, which would cost an estimated $39.6 million in state general funds, was opposed by the two Democrats on the committee who argued that the state needed to do more to address rising inflation and high turnover rates.
Prior to the vote, the committee heard testimony and over 200 written comments from agency directors and employees, most of whom bemoaned skyrocketing inflation and turnover rates. Sen. Janie Ward-Engelking's proposal to provide a 6% merit-based increase with an additional 4% for law enforcement was voted down on a party-line vote.
Rep. James Holtzclaw's motion to raise employee merit pay by $1.20 an hour with an additional 4% increase for public safety officers also failed in a tie vote. The committee will present their recommendation to the Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee, who will decide what to put into legislation.