When Governor Bill Haslam presents his State of the State address tonight, he’ll outline a budget for next year that includes a pay hike for state employees. But if Haslam also gets new civil service rules approved this year, it might be the last across-the board increase for workers.
Last year Governor Haslam put a 1.6 percent pay hike in the budget for Tennessee’s workers. That broke a three-year dry spell with no pay increases.
In his State of the State address he’ll propose another pay hike for the coming year. But this pay hike might be the last of the old-fashioned, across-the-board model.
“We’re also going to propose a pay increase for state employees, for the second year in a row. But I want to emphasize that I don’t think giving nominal, across the board pay raises is the best way, in the long run, to recruit, retain and reward great employees.”
One of the governor’s main aims for the year is to redraw the state civil service regulations, making it easier to hire and promote new blood, pay money to some employees based on merit – and to fire dead wood.
The governor’s annual address begins at six p.m. Monday and will be carried on this radio station and public television stations.
In remarks delivered today in advance of the State of the State address, Haslam described his job as manager of the state’s business.
“State government’s role is to provide the very best service we can at the very lowest price to our citizens. My job as governor is to make sure that we’re doing that. We’re providing those services in a customer-friendly and effective way.”
Haslam and his administrators have been carefully lowering expectations all month, describing revenues as improving modestly.
While state revenues have thus slowly improved, the governor pointed out that the federal contribution to the Tennessee state budget has steadily decreased.
“The total amount of federal funding in this budget proposal is 39.6 percent of the total funds…Interestingly, three years prior to that, the federal funds made up 43.1 percent of the budget. So, you can see what is happening to the states. Federal government’s portion of the budgets is becoming smaller and smaller, obviously and particularly due to the stimulus funds leaving the budget.”