NASHVILLE – Governor Bill Haslam includes raises and a new market rate adjustment for state employees in his proposed budget as outlined during his sixth-annual State of the State address Monday.”
In this year’s budget, we’re proposing $60 million for salary increases to state employees.” Gov. Haslam said. “In addition to that, this budget proposal includes another $36 million for a new market rate adjustment to bring many of our frontline employees closer to market.”
TSEA is gathering more details and specifics on the administration’s plan for the raises, but according to the Tennessee fact book a one-percent increase for all state employees requires $17.6 million. Of course, raises are now performance based so it is difficult to project what the percentage breakdown of raises will be for Valued, Advanced, and Outstanding ratings. Using these figures, an across-the-board raise would be about 3.4-percent.
The market adjustment will only affect state employees earning less than $50,000 annually, according to the governor. That pool of employees includes 848 job classifications, with correctional officers as the largest single job classification at 2,424 employees. TSEA is collecting more information, but other job classifications mentioned in the speech include DCS workers, nurses, medical aids, park rangers, clerical employees and driver license workers.
Haslam proudly proclaimed both the lowest debt per capita of any state and a total of $470 million in recurring cuts as results of his administration’s approach to governing. Though, to the governor’s credit, he did go on to praise state employees for much of the $470 million in recurring cuts, calling the “opportunity” partly a result of the hard work and discipline of our departments.
Over the years, state employees have answered the call to accomplish more with less, while budget after budget was balanced with little remaining for state workers. TSEA has worked hard to ensure state employees have a spot at the front of the line for raises when funding is available, not at the end; especially since ‘available funding’ typically comes from sacrifices made by state employees. Even in Gov. Haslam’s speech last night, the merger of the Construction and Maintenance divisions in TDOT and an 80-percent increase in the amount of employees working in the Tennessee Tower in Downtown Nashville were cited specifically by the governor as contributors to the surplus. Haslam also indicated he could give examples of cost savings from every department.
TSEA applauds Governor Haslam on this particular move to reward our state employees whose sacrifice and hard work contributes to Tennessee’s revenue surplus.
TSEA will continue to learn more about Governor Haslam’s proposed budget in the coming days and will keep you up-to-date on any other plans which might affect state employees.
We agree with Governor Haslam, great employees are the key to great service, and Tennessee has great employees.
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