Democratic Rep. Graig Meyer blasted Republicans for giving state workers a $750 one-time bonus instead of a larger raise, arguing that the budget decision will allow the GOP to approve a much bigger raise ahead of next year’s election.
Meyer – a Hillsborough social worker and school administrator who represents parts of Orange and Durham counties – wrote that analysis in a blog post Wednesday.
“Teachers and state employees have every right to be angry that the only pay increase they will see this year is a one-time $750 bonus,” Meyer wrote. “The amount is paltry compared to what they deserve, and it is less than what the state can afford. It’s also a set up.”
The $750 state employee bonus is a budget compromise the House and Senate reached last week. The original House budget called for a 2 percent raise for all state workers, but the Senate’s spending plan didn’t have any across-the-board raise, instead funding targeted raises for hard-to-fill positions.
Meyer says the state’s $400 million surplus would have easily allowed for a raise. He accuses Republicans of making a political decision to instead offer the bonus.
“Republican legislators are quite confident that with an improving economy, next year’s state budget will include the largest ‘raise’ for teachers and state employees since the recession,” Meyer wrote. “After years of tiny raises, no raises or bonuses, giving state employees a sizable raise during the 2016 election cycle would be very smart from the perspective of political gamesmanship.”
One House Republican budget writer took issue with Meyer’s claim:
That provoked a short exchange between the two legislators.