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FRIDAY, MARCH 10, 2006
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Pay raises for employees, retirees pass state Senate

By M.J. Ellington
DAILY Staff Writer

mjellington@decaturdaily.com (334) 262-1104

MONTGOMERY — Bills giving raises to state employees and retirees passed the Senate without opposition Thursday and await action in the House.

In a 26-0 vote, the Senate approved a bill giving state employees a 5 percent cost-of-living increase. In a 28-0 vote, senators voted to give state retirees a 7 percent pension increase.

Early in the legislative session, Retirement Systems of Alabama Chief Executive Officer David Bronner cautioned lawmakers to consider the long-term financial obligations of such increases, particularly those for retirees.

Sen. Tommy Ed Roberts, D-Hartselle, said money is always a concern, but he is convinced the increases are responsible. "The advice we got from the Legislative Fiscal Office and others makes me think we'll be able to handle these increases," said Roberts.

The employee raise would cost about $80.5 million in the 2007 fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1. The retiree pension increase would cost about $165 million during the same period.

The measures must clear the House and gain Gov. Bob Riley's signature to become law.

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