The State Worker

Raises for California state workers to top $1.4 billion this year, LAO says

Governor Jerry Brown talks about state of affairs before signing the state budget

California Governor Jerry Brown signs the $201 billion final state budget in Los Angeles on June 27, 2018.
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California Governor Jerry Brown signs the $201 billion final state budget in Los Angeles on June 27, 2018.

Wages for California state workers are on pace to climb by $1.4 billion in the state’s current budget year, speeding a trend of rising pay for public employees that began last year when a wave new contracts took effect.

The Legislative Analyst’s Office included the projection in a report it released on Tuesday describing expenses in the $201 billion 2018-19 state budget that Gov. Jerry Brown signed in June.

Payroll data maintained by the State Controller’s Office shows that wages to state employees climbed by $900 million in calendar year 2017, rising to $17.7 billion. The figure does not include wages for college, university or court employees.

Wages to California state workers held below $15 billion well after the recession ended, remaining under that ceiling from 2009 to 2014.

They’ve been climbing since 2015, and accelerated in 2017 with new contracts for 17 of the state’s 21 contract bargaining units.

Brown made deals with three more unions this summer, locking in additional raises for the California Correctional Peace Officers Association, Professional Engineers in California Government and California Association of Professional Scientists.

“Various provisions in (the contracts) will significantly increase state annual costs for years to come,” the analyst wrote in the spending report. “These include scheduled salary increases, funding state contributions to prefund retiree health benefits, increases in health care costs and increases in other benefit costs.”

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The only union without a current labor agreement — the California Association of Highway Patrolmen — has a clause in its contract that automatically provides CHP officers with wage increases based on raises given to other large California police departments.

Check out The Bee’s state worker salary database here, and the big picture figures from the State Controller at publicpay.ca.gov.

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