The bill would give civil servants a $10,000 raise

Austin. A bill from Texas, filed by Rep. John Bucey III, would provide for a $10,000 increase in the pay of some government employees.

Busey, a Democrat from Austin, told a news conference Wednesday that the rising turnover of public employees is becoming an “unsustainable crisis.”

Last year, state agencies in Texas saw their highest employee turnover in a decade, with low pay and insufficient benefits being the most common reason employees cited. Over the past 10 years, the state’s employee turnover rate has ranged from 17.5% in FY2014 to a high of 22.7% in FY2022.

Understaffing in government agencies affects wait and response times for collecting unemployment data and registering children for Medicaid, Bucy said, and contributes to unsafe conditions in prisons and hinders the ability to meet the needs of children in foster care.

House Bill 202 provides for a $10,000 increase for employees of government agencies, including institutions of higher education. In addition, the bill includes a proportional increase for part-time employees.

If passed, the bill will enter into force on 1 September.

“As legislators, we rely on public servants to provide essential services and support to our constituents. It is high time they received a pay raise that reflects the valuable work they do for each of us every day,” Bucey said. “Given the budget surplus and the expected additional billions in revenue, we have to do it.”

State legislators this week also released a proposed baseline budget that would set aside approximately $130.1 billion of the state’s $188.2 billion available for spending over the next budget cycle.

Meanwhile, several heads of state bodies have indicated the need to increase the pay of their employees, which lawmakers have reflected in their proposed budget.

The base budget includes $1.8 billion for pay increases for civil servants, as well as $1 billion for the pension system.

For Ann Bishop, executive director of the Texas Association of Public Employees, a pay increase would be “good news.”

“Civil servants have not seen a general increase in wages since 2014. During this time, the purchasing power of their salary fell by 27%,” Bishop said. “With a historic state surplus, now is the perfect time to make delinquent investments in both current and retired government employees.”

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