Budget passes with raises, bonus for retirees

Sep 22, 2023

The House and Senate passed a $30 billion state budget Friday morning and sent it to Gov. Roy Cooper for signature. Cooper indicated he plans to let the budget become law without his signature.

The plan contains pay raises for state employees and a one-time bonus for retirees. SEANC Executive Director Ardis Watkins told reporters the raises do not go far enough to tackle the vacancy crisis in state government.

"This is a very dangerous gamble with public health and safety," she told WRAL. "Employees will keep leaving if this is what they get when there is plenty of money for a better raise and more than 20% of state jobs are vacant. And the public, unfortunately, will pay the price for the lack of services these vacancies cause."

The budget includes:

  • A 4% pay raise in 2023 and a 3% raise in 2024 for most state employees, including non-certified school personnel, community college, and UNC employees.
  • A 4% one-time supplement for retirees in 2023.
  • A 5.5% pay raise in 2023 for employees on a step-pay plan and an additional 3% in 2024
  • Labor market reserves for agencies to use to address certain position salaries to bring them more in line with similar positions.
  • Funding for the State Health Plan and retirement system.
  • An average of 2% for bus drivers in addition to the 4% across the board in 2023.

Though the budget has passed, there is still time for legislators to do the right thing regarding a bonus to help retain employees. SEANC is advocating for a separate bill with a holiday bonus of $5,000.

The state is sitting on a surplus of over $3 billion built on unspent funds because of vacant jobs. Meanwhile, employees are overworked and leaving in droves.

If you haven't already, you can click here to inform lawmakers that a bonus would help retain employees.