Retrospect: State Employees’ Pay Austin When the 60th legislature finally passed its embattled appropriations bill on May 27, the four-month tug of war between the governor and some legislators ended with some impressive salary gains for state employes. But there were victories and defeats on both sides as $27 million was set aside for raises that ranged from 14 to 34% for some 40,000 workers in the classified scale range. This sum represented a compromise between the $30 million sought by Sen. Charles Herring, Austin, and the $26 million recommended by Go -v. John Connally. The final appropriation settled in a 10-man conference committee, of which Herring was a member provides for an increase of $612 per year, from $2,820 to $3,432, for the lowest state salary group, a jump of not quite 22%. Connally had called for an increase of only about 71/2 %, to $3,024, for this group. For the highest classification, including engineers and chemists, the jump is almost 26% from $12,830 to $16,140. THE EMPLOYEE pay raise issue was the crucial focus around which alliances and divisions among lawmakers were quickly drawn when Sen. Herring introduced, on Jan. 23, an emergency $5.2 million temporary pay hike from the unpledged general fund surplus to pad employee pay checks from March to September of this year until the general appropriation bill could go into effect. Rep. Ed Harris, Galveston, believed that the introduction of the bill at the time was “entirely correct,” because about 30% of state employees leave their jobs each year to go to work with industry or with the federal government. “We were told that an early pay raise would have saved 12 The Texas Observer SUBSCRIBE OR RENEW THE TEXAS OBSERVER 504 West 24th Street Austin 5, Texas Encloyed is 56.00 for a one-year subscription to the Observer for: Name Address City, State about 15% from leaving,” he said. “It is a humanitarian issue. . . . I talked with one man with three kids who is earning 16212 a month. They pay more than that in China.” After some wrangling, the Herring bill was passed,by the Senate, but the House tabled it on Feb. 6 for its ultimate death in the House Appropriations Committee. Almost simultaneously, the House approved one of Connally’s emergency proposals a $5.5 million appropriation to complete the state’s exhibit for the 1968 HemisFair in San Antonio. This subsequently was passed by the Senate, well in advance of the general appropriation bill. Rep. Don Gladden of Fort Worth said later, “The House was in such a total sheepish condition that Gov. Connally could walk in and get money for a Mexican carnival, then when a serious thing like a pay raise comes up he chose not to say anything in favor of it. . . . [His emergency bill] was an act of fiscal irresponsibility. Five and a half million dollars was thrown to the wind without even knowing where it would come from.” Don Adams The days between Jan. 23 and Feb. 6 were, according to Rep. Bill Bass of Ben Wheeler, “one of the most dramatic [periods] of the session.” Ben Barnes and his backers wanted to turn the Herring bill down big, and they did. “It sort of set the tone for the session,” Bass said. The House voted not to consider the bill by a margin of more than 100 votes. Said Bass: “What they [the majority] were saying was that everything should flow from the Governor to the House.” Sen. “Connally is real sensitive and touchy; he wants to be the one to initiate things.” Herring said in retrospect, late in the session, “I really expected [my bill] to pass both the House and the Senate. I had told the Speaker about the bill and told him when I would introduce it in the Senate. He said, ‘I don’t know what my position Will be.’ That was before he #ripitz’ Since 1866 The Place in Austin GOOD FOOD GOOD BEER 1607 San Jacinto OR 7-4171 0 talked with Connally, I believe.” Never theless, Herring seemed pleased with the final results of the state employee pay raise package. IN ADDITION to the raises provided for classified scale employees, there are increases for “line item jobs” such as agency heads, department chiefs, and their deputies. The twelve major agency heads \( treasurer, comptroller, will get increases from $22,600 to $26,000, about 15 1/2 %. The attorney general’s salary will go from $22,500 to $27,500. Other officials, such as the insurance commissioners, will get increases of 25%, from $18,000 to $22,500. Gov . Connally got the biggest boost of all 60%, from $25,000 to $40,000. A joint resolution by both chambers to increase the salaries of the lieutenant governor and speaker of the House failed to pass. The resolution would have authorized an election this November on a constitutional amendment, jumping these salaries from $4,800 to $18,000. Another amendment, would, if passed in 1968, increase the salaries of legislators from $4,800 to $8,400 annually. 70 Stalielt i ea tm icita el I am Whitey, Charlie, Son of a bitch, But my little boy Drowned wired at the wrist. I am Hunkey, Offay, Friend of the man, But my little girl Was bombed in Birmingham. I count these losses Black not white. I hold my grief Excluded from the fight. MAE B. TUGGLE San Antonio MEETINGS THE THURSDAY CLUB of Dallas meets each the Downtown YMCA, 605 No. Ervay St., Dallas. Good discussion. You’re welcome. Informal, no dues. The TRAVIS COUNTY LIBERAL DEMO-CRATS meet at the Spanish Village, 802 Red River, at 8 p.m. on the first Thursday. You’re invited. ITEMS for this feature cost, for the first entry, 7c a word, and for each subsequent entry, 5c a word. Wmust receive them one week before the date of the issue in which they are to ba published.
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