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

02/13/2013 05:44 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 has covered politics for more than 10 years, including 7 years as a reporter for the Lexington Herald-Leader. Follow Ryan on Twitter @cn2Alessi. Ryan can be reached at 502-792-1135 or


  • Cat Balz wrote on February 13, 2013 06:32 PM :

    What a way to endear state workers to the public at large who are struggling enough in this wonderful economy. Thanks for electing Mister Magoo, Frankfort.

  • Hutch wrote on February 13, 2013 09:48 PM :

    Yes I’ll bet KSP commissioner brewer would love that!

  • Slow Down wrote on February 14, 2013 07:05 AM :

    What a crock……….He’s obviously not looked at the cost of a normal traffic citation lately………… and he wants to double the fine to give state employees a raise?

  • sally sue wrote on February 14, 2013 09:19 AM :

    I love him for suggesting it but I don’t think it has a snowballs chance.

  • Lynn wrote on February 14, 2013 10:36 AM :

    Well, the state has programs, and other obligations. Everyone knows this is tough economic times. When you don’t give workers a raise in 3 years, in fact you give them unpaid furlough days, and with no relief in sight, you start losing great workers. I’m not sure I understand the thought that you just put the burden on the backs of the state worker. I’ve worked for the state 10 years and have seen a 4K increase in salary. I monitor programs for vulnerable people, have conducted investigations in hostile working conditions. If the public at large does not want programs for the vulnerable pop, including protecting children, then cut state services and employees, and let the abuse roll. If that is the type of people and state we have, so be it. It gets old being the “do gooder” with no appropriate compensation. Then when sen Denton whines about so many children dying, she and all the other legislators who dont compensate state workers but are interested in a man hunt, can only look in the mirror at just another person who contributed to kentucky’s problems.

  • Eye Opener wrote on February 14, 2013 12:39 PM :

    Traffic fines are very small. Like $20-40 dollars depending on how many mile per hour you exceed the speed limit. The high costs are court costs. They make up 85% of the traffic fine. If this law slows people down, reducing highway deaths and injuries, I’m all for it. That benefit plus finding a non-taxpayer funding source for city/county/state/police retirees seems like a win win to me.

  • Bill Huff wrote on February 14, 2013 08:59 PM :

    I diagree with Senator Carroll. Thsoe 2% merit employee raises could be paid out of due-and-owing property, usage taxes & uncollected titling & registration fees, estimated to be more than $300,000,000. These uncollected state taxes have remained untouched for over 25 years! They even escaped three tax amnesty programs!

    Governor Carroll didn’t do it—-and he had an tax amnesty program.

    No Governor has confronted their state agenceis responsible for compliance Ky titling and revenue collection. Governors’ since 1994 have been in contempt of a June 1994 Ky Supreme Court decision ruling stating Division of Vehicle Enforcement Officers are only state agency having KRS motor vehicle authority!

    Beshear has never demanded Justice & Finance Cabinets Secretaries along with State Police & Department of Revenue head superviors they collect all due-and-owing state property, usage taxes and passenger registration fees! Yet, motor vehicle Ky titling & registration compliance is sole responsibility of State Police Division of Commercial Enforcement Officers!

    In a June 1994 Ky Supreme Court decision the old Transportation Cabinet’s Division of Vehicle Enforcement Officers were decreed as only state agency with motor vehicle KRS authority to compliance Ky motor vehicle law!

    Yet, it’s 2013 and State Police Division of Commercial Enforcment Officers (now assumed to be in contempt of 1994 Ky Surpreme Court decison) have not enforced circumvention of Ky motor vehicle owners’ evading Ky titling & registration law.

    Governor should direct both Cabinets to immediately implement statewide titling & registration compliance those Ky motor vehicle owners evading Ky titling & registration probably evading Ky’s property, usage taxes, also. In fact, the 2001 estimate was $300 million dollars.

    Governor should summons his legislative writers amend Ky titling & registration and revenue laws allowing all twenty-five year old uncollected due-and-owing usage and property taxes be transferred to paying salary increases for all merit salary employees.

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