House Minority Leader Harry Ott says he will try to push through a 1 percent bonus for state workers and teachers in the state budget.
Ott said the money would come from the state’s reserve funds, meaning it would be one-time money and not carry over to next year. State employees will have to pay an extra 4.6 percent for their health insurance and will most likely have to pay an additional 1 percent toward the state retirement fund.
“I believe they deserve (a bonus),” Ott said.
State workers and teachers would receive a 2 percent raise under a spending plan approved last week by the House Ways and Means Committee. But Ott said he was worried the 2 percent raise would not be enough to cover the increases in health insurance and retirement contributions. Ott said an extra 1 percent bonus would cost the state about $14 million just for state employees. It was unclear how much money would be required to give teachers a bonus.
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State Rep. Brian White, R-Anderson and chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said he has not decided if he will support Ott’s bonus plan. But he was skeptical of how the state would pay for it.
“Where are you going to et the money?” White said. “Reserve accounts are for reserves.”