Cooper announces budget proposal with additional raises, bonuses

May 11, 2022

Gov. Roy Cooper released his budget proposal today that includes another round of raises and bonuses for state employees. The details for state employees and retirees include:

  • A 2.5% recurring raise to be added to the 2.5% scheduled to take place July 1 for a total of 5% this year for active state employees and non-certified school employees.
  • Law enforcement and health care workers, including those at DSOF facilities and correctional hospitals, would receive a 5% raise added to the already budget 2.5% percent, for a total of 7.5%. (Correctional officers and staff outside of health care are not included.)
  • 2% of payroll to state agencies in a special fund to recruit/retain difficult positions.
  • Bonuses (given out in two installments)
    • A $1,500 bonus to employees earning more than $75,000
    • A $2,000 bonus to employees earning less than $75,000
    • A $3,000 bonus to teachers.
  • In addition to the 3% one-time bonus already budgeted for retirees this year, the Governor proposes:
    • A 1% recurring COLA
    • An additional 1% bonus

We are thankful to the Governor and his staff for prioritizing state employees and acknowledging retirees, but this proposal doesn’t go far enough. State government has problems that can’t be solved without a significant investment in its workers.

State government must recruit and retain employees to provide vital public services for taxpayers. This requires competitive salaries and incentives. There is currently a 20% vacancy rate across all state government. We have prisons with vacancy rates of 50% or more. This is a tremendous public safety risk. Taxpayers rely on the state workforce to protect them from crime, ensure that bridges they drive across are not in disrepair, inspect elevators, and provide immediate help when natural disasters strike, among so many other things.

Retirees are also hurting. Inflation hits their pocketbook just like everyone else, and in a year when the retirement system has produced gains, it is imperative that they receive a true, recurring cost-of-living adjustment. There hasn’t been a recurring COLA since 2016. They are falling behind more and more each year. Investment gains alone would pay for a 2% increase.

It's important to remember that this is the first step in the budget process. The Governor's proposal is just one of three expected proposals. The House and Senate will likely propose their own plans; then, a compromise plan will be created and sent to the governor for approval or veto. The whole process is expected to move quickly this year after the start of the Short Session on May 18.

We look forward to working with the General Assembly to increase these amounts and protect public services.