Don’t look for raises in Jerry Brown’s January budget proposal

jortiz@sacbee.comJanuary 8, 2014 

Michael Cohen, Chief Deputy Director of the Department of Financ

Michael Cohen, who is now the director of the Department of Finance, was the agency’s chief deputy during his testimony before the Senate budget committee captured in this Jan. 13, 2011 picture at the State Capitol.

HECTOR AMEZCUA — The Sacramento Bee

Although millions of dollars in state employee pay raises ride on estimates of government revenue in 2014-15, Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget proposal Friday won’t give a thumbs-up or thumbs-down on across-the-board compensation hikes.

Contracts negotiated last year by several unions, including the 95,000-employee SEIU Local 1000, contain either-or provisions that split pay increases of up to 4.5 percent over two years beginning in 2014-15 or lump them together in 2015-16. Department of Finance spokesman H.D. Palmer noted that union contracts tie the timing of the raises to the Department of Finance director’s determination “that revenues are sufficient to fully fund existing statutory and constitutional obligations, existing fiscal policy, and the cost of the ‘trigger-based’ increases.’”

In other words, Finance Director Michael Cohen will decide whether the state can afford pay raises this year.

But that won’t be in Friday’s budget proposal. The contracts leave that decision for Brown’s budget revision in May.

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