A bipartisan group of lawmakers is proposing a long-delayed pay raise for roughly 33,000 state workers, including the hundreds that work in corrections in Lyon County and scores of other state employees.
The House State Government Committee last Thursday unanimously approved House Bill 143, which would provide an annual cost-of-living adjustment for state workers based on the Consumer Price Index that began at 2.25%.
"An organization is only as good as its workforce. And we are losing a lot of talented people to employers who pay more," said state Rep. Joe Graviss, D-Versailles. "We have got to be able to keep the expertise that we need to serve our constituents in the commonwealth."
The House bill has a catch: The cost-of-living adjustments depend on enough money being available in the state budget.
The estimated cost over the next two years could exceed $150 million, although some federal money, Road Fund revenues and other sources could be tapped to reduce the stress on the state's General Fund.
Several members of the House committee on Thursday said they are committed to making the raises happen in the next fiscal year, starting July 1.
Officially, Kentucky law requires state workers to get 5% annual raises, but the legislature has waived that requirement every year since 2001, said the bill's sponsor, state Rep. James Tipton, R-Taylorsville.
The last time state government's workforce saw any salary increase across the board was in 2015, when they were given a 1% raise, Tipton said.
(The Herald Ledger contributed to this story.)