Monday, March 19, 2007

Blanco 2008 Fiscal Year Budget includes pay raise for state workers

The Times Picayune reports the Blanco administration unveiled a $29 billion spending plan that stresses education and pay raises for government workers.

The $29.2 billion proposed budget is about 1.5 percent higher than the budget for the current year. The state is limited to spending no more than it receives from state taxes, federal money and other revenue.

Blanco is recommending about $600 million in new spending on education. All public school teachers would get a pay raise of about $2,400 and many teachers would get additional raises through a $155 million infusion of cash into a state education fund. School support workers would get $750 pay raises at a cost of $33.9 million. College faculty would divide $30 million for raises.

State employees would receive $1,500 pay raises at a cost of $142.6 million. Additional pay hikes for corrections officers. State Police and local law enforcement supplements would amount to $66.2 million. The staff at State Police would increase 4 percent to 1,707, including 50 new state troopers

Commissioner of Administration Jerry Luke LeBlanc presented the budget proposal to the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget. The administration and the Legislature will debate the spending bill during the legislative session that runs from April 30 to June 28.