AUSTIN — A Texas bill filed by state Rep. John Bucy III looks to give certain state employees a $10,000 raise.
Bucy, an Austin Democrat, said during a news conference Wednesday that the growing turnover of state employees is becoming an “unsustainable crisis.”
Last year, Texas' state agencies saw the highest turnover in a decade, with the most common reason cited by employees being poor pay and insufficient benefits. Over the past 10 years, statewide turnover rates have ranged from a low of 17.5% in fiscal year 2014 to the highest rate of 22.7% in fiscal year 2022.
Understaffing at state agencies affects wait and response times for collecting unemployment and enrolling children in Medicaid in addition to contributing to dangerous conditions in jails and hampering the ability to address needs for children in foster care, Bucy said.
House Bill 202 would provide a $10,000 raise for employees of state agencies, including institutions of higher education. Additionally, the bill includes a proportional raise for part-time employees.
If passed, the bill would take effect on Sept. 1.
"As legislators, we rely on state employees to provide critical services and support to our constituents. It's well past time we give them a raise that reflects the valuable work they do for each of us every day,” Bucy said. “With a budget surplus and billions more in revenue anticipated, we must get this done."
State legislators this week also released a proposed base budget that would allocate roughly $130.1 billion of the state’s $188.2 billion available for spending over the next budget cycle.
During the interim, several heads of state agencies highlighted the need for increased pay for their employees, which lawmakers addressed in their proposed budget.
The base budget includes $1.8 billion for state employee pay raises, as well as $1 billion to be put into the Employees Retirement System.
For Ann Bishop, Texas Public Employees Association executive director, pay increases would be “welcome news.”
“State employees have not seen a general pay raise since 2014. The buying power of their paycheck has dropped 27% in that time,” Bishop said. “With a historic state surplus, this is the right time to make an overdue investment in both current and retired state employees.”