Albany -- Governor Sonny Perdue announced a budget plan that includes a raise for all workers, ranging from two to four percent.
Under the Governor's proposal, state employees at the lowest end of their pay scale will get a 4-percent raise and those at the highest will get a two percent increase.
State employees keep Georgia running, growing and progressing, but in the last few years, they haven't gotten many thank-yous in the form of pay raises, because of tight budgets.
Shirley Armstrong has been a state employee for 23 years, teaching radiology technicians at Albany Tech, and now as the Director of Instruction. "It has been a while," she said, speaking of a pay raise. "I love what I do, and I'm teaching what it is that I love. That's a win-win situation."
She also says an election year is a win-win for state employees, since it has the Governor proposing a pay raise for all of them. "If we're going to have these benefits coming to us because it's an election year, hey let's have one every year."
She jokes, but is serious about the importance of compensating state employees, many of whom could make more in the private sector. "A lot of faculty members here could possible make more money in the field. So when they choose to stay here, the state should see that and provide those incentives."
Under the Governor's proposal, 69% of the state workforce will receive more than the two percent raise. Six percent of current state employees, with an average salary of $23,200, will be eligible for the full four percent pay increase.
The Governor said these raises are the first step in restructuring employee salaries to improve the state's competitiveness in the overall job market.
"State employees work very hard every day to meet the needs of the citizens of Georgia," said Perdue. "They give of themselves and often work behind-the-scenes to make state government function efficiently."
For that work, Governor Perdue is also proposing to increase the minimum and maximum salary of each pay grade by four percent. And Armstrong says that's a step in the right direction that will last longer than one year.
Governor Perdue also proposed freezing health care premiums for state employees. That will keep that extra money, from the raises, from going straight to pay rising health care costs.
The salary increase will be effective January 1, 2007 if approved.