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Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

Hector Amezcua / The Sacramento Bee

Michael Cohen, who is now the director of the Department of Finance, was the agency’s chief deputy during his testimony before the Senate budget committee captured in this Jan. 13, 2011 picture at the State Capitol.

Don’t look for raises in Jerry Brown’s January budget proposal

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014 - 1:01 pm
Last Modified: Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014 - 9:33 am

Although millions of dollars in state employee pay raises ride on estimates of government revenue in 2014-15, Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget proposal Friday won’t give a thumbs-up or thumbs-down on across-the-board compensation hikes.

Contracts negotiated last year by several unions, including the 95,000-employee SEIU Local 1000, contain either-or provisions that split pay increases of up to 4.5 percent over two years beginning in 2014-15 or lump them together in 2015-16. Department of Finance spokesman H.D. Palmer noted that union contracts tie the timing of the raises to the Department of Finance director’s determination “that revenues are sufficient to fully fund existing statutory and constitutional obligations, existing fiscal policy, and the cost of the ‘trigger-based’ increases.’”

In other words, Finance Director Michael Cohen will decide whether the state can afford pay raises this year.

But that won’t be in Friday’s budget proposal. The contracts leave that decision for Brown’s budget revision in May.

Read more articles by Jon Ortiz

About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at


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Note: The State Worker blog switched blog platforms in October 2013. All posts after the switch are found here. Older posts are available using the list below.

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