House and Senate budget negotiators resumed talks today, but still have not resolved differences over how to fund veterans homes and health care for the blind.
They agreed on numerous budget items that have garnered little to no controversy. The House won out on its proposed pay raise for state workers – those earning under $70,000 a year would get a 2 percent raise starting in July. Kirk Schaefer (R, Columbia), the Senate’s chief negotiator, says he didn’t mind accepting the House’s position on pay raises.
“I think when you look at it, and you look at take-home pay and really what’s happened to state workers over the last five years, I think $70,000 is more appropriate," Schaefer said. "It’s actually $4.6 million more to go with the House position over the Senate position, so it’s not that much more.”
The Senate had proposed a 2 percent raise for state workers making less than $45,000 per year. The General Assembly has until Friday to send the state budget to Governor Jay Nixon (D).