by Max Brantley
I understand how important merit pay is to our state employees, and my preference is to provide merit pay this year; however, due to budget constraints currently facing the state, a final decision regarding merit pay will be held until June.Reaction from the Arkansas State Employees Association:
The Governor's office has informed us that they will delay the merit pay decision until the end of this month. This gives us a better chance of getting it funded. We would rather see you get a delayed bonus than not get one.Sluggish revenue earlier prompted the governor to cut spending by $70 million for the last two months of the year that ends June 30. That money comes out of the category of state funding that holds merit pay money. He's also cut spending for the next fiscal year by $43 million, again hitting the category with merit pay. About half of state employees — mostly on the lower end of the scale — will get some decent raises next year thanks to a pay scale restructuring. The rest are looking at 1 percent cost of living increases. However, the appropriation bills for individual agencies include some line item boosts for specific employees, including some significant raises for people at the top of departmental pay scales. They'll get those.