Lawmakers OK pay raises for state workers

Prison workers and other state employees will get their biggest raise in eight years under a bill to be signed by Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin this week. The state budget deal announced last week also includes raises for troopers, child welfare workers, and teachers. Under the new budget, pay hikes were approved for more than 12,000 workers at 25 state agencies. The amount of the pay raises falls between 6 and 13 percent. Correctional officer pay will go up, but remains modest, according to Sean Wallace, executive director for Oklahoma Corrections Professionals. “Starting pay for corrections officers will increase by less than a dollar to $12.77, from $11.83,” he said. “According to the OCP survey released last fall, Oklahoma’s starting pay for corrections officers will move up from 47th in the nation to 45th, as long as other states’ starting pay remains the same.” The budget also includes a 3.3 percent hike in funding for the state education department. A measure approving the budget cleared its final hurdle Tuesday in a 95-0 vote in the Oklahoma House of Representatives. House author Leslie Osborn, R-Mustang, said lawmakers targeted many of the pay increases for state workers who are the most underpaid.