Gov. Gary Herbert on Jan. 8 released his proposed budget for 2020-2021. He released the budget later than usual due to the tax reform bill that passed during the Legislature’s Dec. 12 special session.
Herbert’s recommendations for state employees include:
- $20.8 million to fund a 2.5% cost of living adjustment (COLA) for all state employees
- $8 million in targeted funding for employees in positions earning below market rates
- $611,000 to fund the current $26 biweekly 401(k) program match
- $6.8 million to fund the employer share of the 4.53% PEHP increase
The Utah Public Employees’ Association (UPEA) has been actively lobbying for a 5% compensation increase for state employees. This includes meeting with legislators along with House and Senate leadership to emphasize the importance of an increase and to foster support. UPEA Executive Director Todd Losser stated: “The governor’s proposed budget is a beginning point for future discussions.”
UPEA implemented a member-based communication program earlier this year encouraging members to initiate dialog and create ongoing relationships with their legislators. The purpose of this program is to educate policymakers on the importance of the work performed by public employees and to advocate for a long overdue pay increase.
State employee compensation should be a priority with the Governor’s Office and legislators. UPEA ambassadors should continue contacting their legislators. “UPEA is the only advocate and voice for public employees,” Losser said.
As final budget numbers are announced in mid-February, UPEA’s lobbying efforts, and the input of state employees, will continue to be at the forefront of conversations with lawmakers. Please be advised that UPEA will send you periodic updates throughout the session on the status of bills. The Association is currently tracking legislation that may require you to contact your legislator. If don’t know who your legislators are, click here for a step-by-step tutorial.