The President of an organization representing state employees is happy to hear talk about pay raises for state employees in the next two year budget cycle.
Because of a tight state budget, state employees did not receive a general pay raise from the 2017 Legislature. But now, Legislative leaders – including House Majority Leader Al Carlson (R-Fargo)– are saying the employees need to see raises approved in the 2019 Legislature. And Governor Doug Burgum, in his budget guidelines address to state agencies, said there needs to be room in the budget to provide what he called “overdue” salary increases.
"Our dedicated public employees across the state are looking at their cost of living going up, with their salaries remaining stagnant," said ND United President Nick Archuleta. "This is really encouraging to hear."
Archuleta said he's very hopeful this is serious, and not just election-year talk, and will translate into action in the 2019 Legislative session.
But Archuleta said he has a concern, since the budget guidelines ask state agencies to submit budgets that reduce spending between 5 and 10 percent from the current biennium, based on agency size.
"If the only way you can get a pay increase is by the agencies reducing employee numbers, that's problematic," Archuleta said. "If you have fewer employees doing the same amount, or even more work, that addrs to their stress."
Archuleta said not giving regular raises hurts efforts to recruit and retain staff.
Burgum will present his executive budget proposal to state lawmakers in December.