Governor Herbert released his proposed budget on December 13, 2017. His recommendations included a 2% cost-of-living adjustment for state employees, funding for the health insurance increase, and continuing the 401(k) match. This year’s budget announcement was received very differently than last year’s, when Governor Herbert recommended a 1% pay increase. UPEA’s response at the time was that “the Governor’s recommendations are a starting point. UPEA will continue to work with elected officials to advocate for pay throughout the budget process.”
State employees were disappointed and upset with the recommendation and began the Legislative session with an uphill battle. However, thanks to the efforts of UPEA’s members and staff, by the end of the legislative session, state employees received a 2% across the board pay increase. This is one example of how effective public employees are when they unite the power of their voice behind an important issue. The result was overwhelmingly positive.
UPEA’s executive director Todd Losser explained that the Governor’s proposed budget is a guideline and should always be viewed as a beginning for future discussions. As final budget numbers are released in mid-February UPEA’s lobbying efforts, and the input of state employees should not be underestimated.
Last year’s pay increase was a direct result of good communication and lobbying. UPEA members were committed to contacting their legislators and asking for additional compensation.
UPEA continues to emphasize the need to prioritize state employee compensation. Pay increases should be funded first, not last. This message continues to be communicated to the Governor’s office and to other stakeholders throughout the year.
Each legislative session has its key issues, and this session will have its share of controversy. But, just like last year, the governor’s proposed 2% pay increase for state employees is a starting point for further conversations.
For the upcoming 2018 Legislative session UPEA is proposing/supporting the following:
- A 3% COLA for state employees. In past years, the legislature has equally funded pay increases for both public education and state employees.
- Hotspot funding for hard-to-fill positions that have been identified by the Department of Human Resource Management (DHRM). UPEA believes that the targeted funding should be based on merit and not at the discretion of the agencies.
- Full funding of the 4.1% health insurance increase. In addition, UPEA supports the current structure for health insurance co-pays, co-insurance, and deductibles. Other plan benefits should also be funded at the same rate
Please be advised that UPEA will send you periodic updates throughout the session on the status of bills. We are currently tracking legislation that may require you to contact your legislator (look up on bottom right hand side of Legislature’s website).