Carroll to propose paying for 2% raises for state workers by doubling traffic fines

02/13/2013 04:44 PM

The state could pay for 2 percent raises for state workers through a designated pool of money funded by doubling fines for traffic violations and other misdemeanors, said state Sen. Julian Carroll, D-Frankfort.

Carroll told Pure Politics on Wednesday that he has a bill drafted and plans to file it before Friday’s deadline for new Senate bills.

Carroll said it would be the first time a designated fund would be set up for state employee raises. Most state workers haven’t received salary increases 2010 when their pay went up 1 percent. And Carroll commissioned a study that showed since 2004, the rising cost of living coupled with the lack of raises has equaled a 9.2 percent pay cut, as the Courier-Journal’s Tom Loftus reported.

Raising speeding and other misdemeanor fines would raise $20 million a year, Carroll said quoting Legislative Research Commission figures. And a 1 percent salary increase would cost $5 million. The first 1 percent increase would kick in Jan. 1, 2014, and the second 1 percent would take effect July 1, 2014, to give the state enough time to collect the money, Carroll said. And the fund needs a head start to accrue enough money to cover salary increases in future years.

He also said he wanted to find a funding source that didn’t involve raising taxes. In, he said, it’s only a tax on people who break the law. Here’s what else he said:

Carroll said the bill leaves judges with the discretion to waive misdemeanor fines.

Republican Sen. Joe Bowen of Owensboro, who chairs the Senate State and Local Government Committee, said he’s intrigued by the idea but hadn’t yet seen the legislation or talked to Carroll. Bowen said the biggest challenge might be vetting the issue in the remaining 19 days of the 30-day session.

About Ryan Alessi

Ryan Alessi joined cn|2 in May 2010 as senior managing editor and host of Pure Politics. He is now pursuing an advanced degree in non-fiction writing from Murray State University and is a regular contributor to Pure Politics. Ryan has covered politics for more than 14 years, including seven years as a reporter for the Lexington Herald-Leader. Ryan can be reached at purepolitics@twcable.com or @mycn2 on Twitter.

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