Missouri Gov. Parson recommends 8.7% pay increase for state employees to General Assembly

(The Center Square) – State employees might get an 8.7% pay increase, and some working in certain care facilities during high-demand shifts might get a $2-per-hour increase under a plan by Republican Missouri Gov. Mike Parson.

Parson recommended to the state’s General Assembly a cost-of-living adjustment for all state workers and the hourly increase in a fiscal year 2023 early supplemental budget request. The proposed pay increase would amount to $151.2 million, with $82.4 million from general revenue. The state’s Office of Administration reported net general revenue collections for the first six months of fiscal year 2023 increased 9.5% compared to last year, rising to $6.24 billion from $5.7 billion in 2022.

The General Assembly must pass the increases. Parson urged lawmakers to act as soon as possible with a goal of getting the increases into paychecks by March 31.

“There is no question that the recruitment and retention of state employees have been a severe problem for our state, and we must do better,” Parson said in a statement announcing the supplemental budget request. “This is why we are again recommending an immediate cost-of-living increase for our state team. With 7,000 positions open across state government, this wage increase is necessary, and it is the minimum we must do to support our state workers and the people of Missouri.”

House Minority Leader Crystal Quade, D-Springfield, favored the increase.

“As a starting point, the governor’s proposed pay raise for state employees has merit,” Quade said in a statement. “But it isn’t nearly enough to end Missouri’s sorry status of having the worst average state worker pay in the nation. A couple years of modest improvement simply isn’t enough to overcome decades of shortchanging state workers with annual raises that ranged from the miniscule to the non-existent. To be competitive in recruiting and retaining workers, state government must do much more. We are hopeful the House Budget Committee will build on the governor’s proposal to craft a more robust pay plan for our dedicated state workforce.”

The $2-per-hour increase is recommended for certain congregate care staff within the Department of Social Services, the Department of Corrections, the Department of Mental Health and the Missouri Veterans Commission. The proposed increase would be for staff working evening and overnight shifts.

“The $2-an-hour shift differential for the congregate care workforce at 24/7 state-operated programs is very important,” Valerie Huhn, DMH director, said in a statement. “It acknowledges that increased pay is needed for the State of Missouri’s front-line team members who work during hours when other staff are home with their families. The daily work these public servants do is vitally important to thousands of vulnerable citizens. This recommendation coupled with a significant COLA demonstrates Governor Parson’s continued support of these team members.”

The COLA increase comes after a 7.5% pay increase for state workers was recommended by Parson and approved by the General Assembly last year. The 8.7% COLA increase was determined by the increase given to Social Security recipients this year and the Consumer Price Index determined by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“State team members who rise each day to face the monumental task of providing vital services around the clock in congregate care settings are vital to the well-being of our state and our fellow citizens,” Robert Knodell, acting DSS director, said in a statement. “This recommendation will not only help us retain our dedicated team members, but will also help Missouri be a more competitive and desirable employer as a whole, ultimately allowing us to attract the additional help we need. I am incredibly appreciative of the Governor’s continued efforts to advocate for state team members to receive better compensation.”

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