Thursday, June 21, 2007

State Employee Cost-of-living increase wins final legislative approval

A $29.7 billion state budget for next year including pay raises and new education spending received final legislative passage on Wednesday.

After months of partisan wrangling about spending priorities, the bill providing for money to operate state government in the year that begins July 1 received little debate in its final stop before heading to Blanco's desk.

Blanco can strip individual items out of the budget bill with her line-item veto
power — though the bill keeps intact the governor's spending recommendations, including millions of dollars in new spending on education and health care and in pay raises for state workers, public school teachers, prison guards, police officers and support workers.

Spending will be increased in nearly all major areas. More than 1,100 new
jobs will be added to state government. Average public school teacher pay
in Louisiana will reach the Southern regional average with the $2,375
salary hike included in the budget and a state employee pay raise of