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Budget writing committee OKs pay increase for state workers

Delaware Public Media

State lawmakers could be among those seeing a bigger paycheck as part of Gov. John Carney’s (D) proposed raises and bonuses for state workers.

Members of the Joint Finance Committee signed off on nearly $50 million in higher wages for state employees in next fiscal year. And that may include lawmakers, as well as cabinet members and state judges.

The JFC approved a plan would give state workers a $1,000 pay raise, costing about $26 million. Public school teachers would see a two percent raise. The educational increases include bus drivers who are school district employees and food service workers. It also sets aside $23 million for one-time bonuses of $500 to state workers.

Mike Jackson, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, said its up to the JFC to decide if the raises apply to lawmakers, executive branch officials and judges.

“You know that’s to be determined by Joint Finance Committee as we work through the epilogue language for how the pay policy will apply," he said. "But there is enough funding available for them to do so.”

State Sen. Bryant Richardson (R-Seaford) argues JFC should consider language exempting lawmakers. But committee Co-Chair Harris McDowell (D-Wilmington) says state legislators haven’t seen a pay increase since 2005.

“If we take the position that we’re never going to raise state legislators’ salaries, we eventually end up with such a low level of pay that we will not be able to get people to put the time in to do it,” he said.

McDowell said lawmakers may decide to also give bonuses to state workers with collective bargaining agreements.

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