A legislative committee has signed off on a plan to give most state and University of Wisconsin employees a one percent pay hike over each of the next two years.
The proposal received unanimous committee approval Wednesday, giving UW and non-union state employees their first raise since 2008. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) says the increase was made possible by the sacrifices made in recent years that have helped the state get its “budget back to where it needs to be,” allowing government to reinvest.
AUDIO: Speaker Robin Vos (:22)
The proposal also includes a $0.25 hourly increase for state workers making under $15 an hour.
While Democrats supported the raise, Senate Minority Leader Chris Larson (D-Milwaukee) questioned whether it does enough to actually keep the state competitive and to make up for what state workers have lost. Larson said the increases don’t keep up with inflation, and that “basic mathematics” show giving back one percent after taking 14 percent is not really a raise.
AUDIO: Sen. Chris Larson (:14)
Officials with AFSCME, the state employees union, echoed Larson’s comments, calling it a token raise that is more than wiped out by continued increases to co-pays for retirement and health benefits that state workers have been forced to pay.
The increase will impact about 41,000 state workers and 24,000 UW employees. The raises will kick in on this coming Sunday.