Lawmaker Proposes Raise For Teachers And State Employees
House minority leader Craig Ford is crafting legislation that would give teachers and state employees a ten percent raise.
While some republicans agree that an increase is due, they say it's premature to speculate on the amount.
Representative Craig Ford says educators and state employees have not seen a raise since 2008.
Ford says he's proposing a ten percent raise because the cost of living has increased 7.5 percent since the last increase.
He says when legislation passed forcing state employees to pay 2.5 percent toward retirement, it was like taking a pay cut.
Democratic Representative John Knight, (D) District 77, says state employees and teachers deserve it.
"In order to be competitive, if you want to be the best you have to pay people to do the job we don't mind paying to be the best in athletics and I commend the state for that but we ought to be the best at education as well," said Knight.
Republicans have said they think there will be enough money in the budget to support a raise.
Senator Dick Brewbaker, (R) District 25, says setting a rate of ten percent is premature.
"I think it's typical of why when the Democrats run the legislature the budgets always in proration," said Brewbaker.
Brewbaker says when lawmakers have good budget projections from the fiscal office and the governor, they can better decide on how big of pay raise to give teachers.
"Look, teachers deserve a raise but it needs to be one that we can sustain without going into proration, when we have those projections, we will give them the biggest raise we can afford to give," said Brewbaker.
Ford says his bill would distribute the increase over a two year period with a 7 percent increase in 2014 and another 3 percent increase the following year.
Ford plans to file his bill in the next couple of weeks. The legislative session begins February 5.