Delaware’s improving economic numbers are translating to help for state workers. The members of the Joint Finance Committee approved a slight pay increase for Delaware government workers.
The one percent raise represents a compromise from the two percent increase that was proposed by the co-chairs of the JFC, Senator Harris McDowell and State Representative Dennis P. Williams, both Democrats. An increase in state revenue forecasts over the past few months means there’s more money on the table for lawmakers writing up the budget for Fiscal Year 2013. Governor Markell’s spending plan unveiled earlier in the year didn’t include any increase for state employees.
“I think it was a fair deal,” says Williams. “You know the Governor proposes, and he brings out things that he wants, and sometimes when you put other things in the budget you have to renegotiate and realign that money as we always do.”
The pay increase is estimated to cost the state about $21 million out of the proposed $3.5 billion budget. Now that the JFC has signed off on the increase, the raise will have to be approved as part of the budget package by the full General Assembly and signed by the Governor before June 30.
McDowell says the raise comes after a few years of asking state employees to do more with less. “You’ve had increased work loads through the last several years, as we’ve been in recession. I mean their workloads have increased enormously. We appreciate the fact that they’ve stayed with us and the General Assembly is trying to recognize their loyalty.”