House votes on budget Friday

By FRED LUCAS State Journal Staff Writer Published:

The full House will vote on a budget Friday that includes a $1,080 pay hike for state employees across the board and leaves open the option of unpaid time off for workers, should the fiscal times worsen.

The $1,080 pay raise, which is in lieu of the expected 2.7 percent increment, is intended to help state employees who make less than $40,000. The amount is about 2.7 percent of $40,000 and would provide a higher percentage increase to lower wage earners while those earning more than $40,000 would get a lower percentage increase.

The budget proposal passed unanimously out of the House Appropriations and Revenue Committee Wednesday, but not without some criticism. The proposal includes a 2.6 percent cut in the executive branch, and higher education. However, elementary and secondary education along with human services went untouched.

"When times are tough, raises should be for those who need it most," House Majority Whip Joe Barrows, a member of the committee, said just before the budget hearing.

The House won't consider Gov. Paul Patton's proposal for $570 million in tax increases, nor a reform plan to increase revenue in the future. Lawmakers have said they are doing what they can during a short session to address the state's $400 million budget shortfall.

For more on this story, see the latest State Journal.

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