AP reported yesterday that state finance officials had decided revenue was sufficient to give 28,000 Arkansas state employees a 1 percent pay raise on checks at the end of November. The raise had been delayed.
Lame duck Gov. Mike Beebe directed the raise, which will cost $2.7 million this year.
Easy for him to do. And, from where I sit, not quite as cautious as customary. The most recent state revenue report showed state revenue was up a whopping 1.7 percent over last year. Remember too that the governor has recommended delay of a planned tax cut because of tight money.
It’s still a relatively small sum. And state employees have suffered with the rest of middle America through the recessionary years. (Not the super rich. The legislature gave the very richest a total exclusion from the capital gains tax.) But this added cost is another drop in the rising bucket of expenses that Asa Hutchinson must shoulder along with a scheduled $50 million tax cut and his own promise of an additional $100 million tax cut. Oh, and the budget from which this raise will come is also swollen with Obamacare dollars that many in the Republican legislative majority say must stop for the good of the country. (If not the good of state employees, hospitals, sick people, etc.)