A proposed pay raise for state employees was included in the House budget proposal and was approved Friday with a vote of 99 to 17.
The $74.4 billion budget proposal, House Bill 5001, calls for a $1,400 pay raise for state workers and is broken into two tiers: a $1,000 salary increase and a $400 performance-based bonus.
This is the first pay raise for public employees in almost seven years.
The Florida Senate approved a 3 percent pay raise for state employees on Wednesday. The difference will have to be reconciled in conference before a final budget is signed by Gov. Rick Scott.
Rep. Dennis K. Baxley (R-District 23) said that he feels the measure has been long-awaited and the House has been anxious to recognize employees for their hard work.
“We all should be celebrating, we’re finally able to reward our state workers,” he said.
Appropriations Committee Chair Seth McKeel (R-District 40) told the Miami Herald that this plan equates to roughly a 2.5 percent pay raise for employees.
Baxley said the bonus will be determined by statutory guides as to how supervisors can deliver and administer the money.
“It’s very carefully laid out set of standards by which you evaluate performance and their efforts to advance the work of their department, wherever they’re working,” he said.
Baxley said he thinks the guidelines leave the bonus under the jurisdiction of different departments, but ultimately does reward success and hard work.
Democrats were prepared to vote against the budget bill if no health-care expansion were proposed. On the floor, Republicans did not rule out the possibility for the money to be used for the health-care plan.
Baxley said nothing can be ruled out as long as the resources are there and ideas on how to administer them exist.
He said the most important outcome of the bill is the beginning recovery of Florida.
“It’s just rewarding to see Floridians doing better, able to send us more revenues, projecting more revenues, so that we can take care of some of those responsibilities that have been on hold,” he said.
Sarah Brand wrote this story online.