OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Senate on Wednesday passed a bill that would provide tiered pay raises for about 34,000 state employees.
House Bill 2771 heads to Gov. Kevin Stitt after it passed the Senate by a vote of 42-0.
It is part of the budget agreement announced earlier this month.
The measure would provide a pay increase of $1,500 for those earning $40,000 a year or less.
It would provide a pay increase of $1,250 for those earning more than $40,000 but less than $50,000.
Those earning $60,000 or more would get a $600 pay hike.
The Oklahoma Public Employees Association had sought a $5,000 across-the-board pay raise for state employees, said spokesman Tom Dunning.
“While it is not what state employees wanted or what we believe they deserve, it is the second pay raise in two years,” Dunning said. “But we have got to get to a point where we get state employee compensation closer to market.”
Last year’s raise ranged from $750 to $2,000, depending on the employee’s salary, he said. The average raise was $1,600, he said.
Dunning said the organization is afraid health insurance premiums will go up in December. The increase could eat away the raises, he said.
“We are hopeful there can be a discussion held over the interim about real changes to the compensation structure that gets us out of this cycle of asking for money when money is there and going through years when money is short and not getting pay raises,” Dunning said.
Sen. Gary Stanislawski, R-Tulsa, carried the bill on the Senate floor.
He said it will cost about $37.7 million.
“I was pleased we were able to give a pay raise two years in a row,” he said. “We understand there is still room for more growth in salaries, but with the budget we crafted this year, it was nice to see some of our hardest working state employees receiving another raise.”
Stanislawski said he is confident that Stitt will sign the measure.