Oklahoma House approves state employee pay raise bill

The Oklahoma House of Representatives on Tuesday approved a bill designed to grant targeted pay raises to Oklahoma’s most underpaid employees this year, with an ultimate goal of raising all state employee salaries to 90 percent of the private market within four years.
by Randy Ellis Modified: March 11, 2014 at 8:45 pm •  Published: March 11, 2014

The state House of Representatives on Tuesday approved a bill designed to grant large, targeted pay raises to Oklahoma’s most underpaid employees this year, with a goal of raising all state employee salaries to 90 percent of the private market within four years.

The bill sailed through the state House with a 90-0 vote and will now head to the Senate. There was no debate.

“The state of Oklahoma is losing skilled and educated employees to retirement and the private sector,” said Rep. Leslie Osborn, author of House Bill 3293. “Our state agencies need productive minds and ingenuity to fill those gaps, provide better services and address the problems of the future. Competitive wages will greatly enhance the state’s ability to choose from the top recruits.”

Osborn, R-Mustang, said her measure calls for setting aside 3 percent of the previous fiscal year’s payroll costs for salary adjustments each year.

Three percent of last year’s payroll would be about $40 million.

Some would wait

Osborn said she doesn’t want the money doled out evenly to state employees.

Instead, Osborn said she initially wants to see large, targeted raises given to the most underpaid state employees, which she said includes public safety employees, corrections workers and some Department of Human Services workers.

Other employees would have to wait their turn as the state attempts to raise overall state employee wages to 90 percent of the private market within four years.

Oklahoma state employees, in general, are currently paid about 20 percent less than the private market, according to the Oklahoma Public Employees Association.

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by Randy Ellis
Capitol Bureau Reporter
For the past 30 years, staff writer Randy Ellis has exposed public corruption and government mismanagement in news articles. Ellis has investigated problems in Oklahoma's higher education institutions and wrote stories that ultimately led to two...
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