Gov. Spencer Cox released his proposed $21.7 billion budget on Jan. 11, 2021. His recommendations include:
- $24.5 million to restore the 3% cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for state employees that was rescinded in 2020 due to the pandemic
- $8.8 million for discretionary targeted pay increases
- $6.6 million to fund the 4.35% health insurance premium increase
- $500,000 for the 401(k) match increase
“The governor’s proposed budget should be viewed as a starting point for future budget discussions,” said Todd Losser, executive director of the Utah Public Employees’ Association (UPEA).
The budget also includes a savings of $12.9 million from the Program II sick leave unfunded liability. UPEA believes these savings should be allocated to employee compensation rather than distributed as discretionary pay increases that would be determined by individual agencies. In the past, UPEA has questioned the process for determining which employees are eligible to receive the discretionary increases.
As final revenue numbers are released in mid-February, the input of state employees will guide UPEA’s lobbying efforts and conversations with lawmakers.
State employee compensation is UPEA’s priority. Losser also indicated that “UPEA is the only advocate and voice for public employees.”
Please be advised that UPEA will be asking you to contact your legislator during the legislative session.