(Missourinet) Among about 300 Missouri Department of Corrections workers today, Gov. Mike Parson has signed into law a $29.7 billion state budget. At the Jefferson City Correctional Center, Parson says the plan gives corrections employees a pay raise of at least 3% for new workers and as much as 13% for 20-year veterans.
“This is a great day for Missouri Department of Corrections,” Parson says at the bill signing. “This is the largest raise in the history of DOC. The pay raise is one thing, but it’s really about the job you do. The reality of it is most people don’t want to do what you do.”
The salary increase for Corrections workers is made through the $21 million annual savings of the near future consolidation of two northwest Missouri prisons in Cameron. According to Alana Boyles, the director of the Division of Adult Institutions with the Missouri Department of Corrections, most offenders at the Crossroads Correctional Center are expected to be moved into the Western Missouri Correctional Center within about 90 days.
“We invested every dime of it back into the Department of Corrections for all of you,” says Parson. “I know the job you do is tough. I know the job you do is dangerous. I know your work is with a challenging population. It is my hope and the hope of Director Precythe that this pay plan will help each of you and help show appreciation to you for the service you provide to this state and the important role you play in the safety of the citizens of the great state. As governor of the state, it’s important to me that you are good state workers. It’s important to me to make sure that is the case. It’s important to me that you want to come to work – that you want to do your job.”
Missouri has about 20 state prisons, including in Jefferson City, Potosi, Farmington and St. Joseph.
The fiscal outline also gives all other state workers a 3% pay boost.
“Hopefully in the future, we can take care of our state employees better. And we can reward them for good work,” he says.
Parson says he will focus on state worker pay increases again next year.
“We really want to analyze each department. Just like the Department of Corrections, come forward with a plan how they can conserve money, how they could do a better job. Then we to invest that back into those employees for their hard work,” he says. “Let’s invest it back into these employees so we’re not 49th in the nation paying our state employees, along with teachers in this state. We’ve got to figure out some ways to do better.”
Parson did not veto any line items in the budget – an uncommon occurrence for governors to take regardless of party.
“I think working with the Legislature from day one trying to figure up a conservative budget that we could meet was important to me. They did their part. So I felt like it was my time to do my part. We analyzed everything in there and we really feel like it’s a solid budget for the state of Missouri,” says Parson.
Other highlights of the budget include:
*$50 million in general revenue for $301 million in bonding to repair 250 bridges, contingent upon the award of a federal infrastructure grant.
*$50 million for a cost-share program with local municipalities to fund road repairs.
*$3.55 billion to fully fund the formula used to fund Missouri’s K-12 public schools – an increase of about $61 million from the current state budget year.
*$108 million to fund K-12 public school bus transportation costs – a $5 million increase from the current fiscal year.
*Core funding increased for all of Missouri’s public universities by $1 million with some, including Missouri State University, receiving as much as a $10 million boost. State Technical College received a $500,000 core increase and $500,000 for deferred maintenance.
*Prevents undocumented immigrants from receiving in-state college tuition
*$5 million for alternatives to jail program for pre-trial electronic ankle bracelets
*$5 million for rural broadband grants
*$8 million in flood recovery aid
*1.5% rate increases to Medicaid providers