General Fund Keeps State Worker Bonus


By Alabama News Network

The state's general fund budget is one step closer to heading the governor's desk.

The budget was approved in a senate committee today after it already been passed in the house.
And there's good news for state workers.
While we've been talking a lot about teacher pay raises, state workers are also hoping for one this year. And so far, the governor's conditional pay raise is in the budget.
The entire general fund is almost two billion dollars, up slightly from last year.
Part of that puzzle is a conditional raise for state employees, meaning that if more money comes in than expected this year, they could get a raise.
But even if that doesn't happen, there is a plan for a 400 dollar bonus.
"It's not what we would want to do, but it's what we have the resources to afford at this time. We want to do what we can afford and pass that along to our state employees," said Sen. Arthur Orr.
And Alabama State Employees Association executive director Mac McArthur says it's been hard over the last several years for state workers.
It's been about five years since their wages were adjusted for inflation.
"State emplyoees have not had a COLA since 2008, October the first 2008. Retirees have not had a bonus since '07. So certainly that's been a long long time, a long dry time and we're glad that merit raises were restored," said McArthur.
And he says that while workers are hoping for a guaranteed raise, he appreciates what lawmakers have done so far. 
"I was heartened by the fact that we're able to have a bonus that is funded, certainly hope that we can keep it through the rest of the process. Our goal has been to put money in the pockets of active and retired state employees. And certainly the governor took the first step with the conditional, which is still in the budget."