Washington workers could get raises despite budget woes - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Washington workers could get raises despite budget woes

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OLYMPIA, Wash. - More than 21,000 state workers could get raises next year under fresh union contracts, even though the state is facing a $2.6 billion budget deficit.
     
The experience-based raises of up to 5 percent are typically given to state workers in each of their first six years. The Olympian reports they're worth about $83 million.
     
Some Republican lawmakers say Democratic Governor Chris Gregoire negotiated a deal that was too generous, particularly since she's proposing to cut about $1 billion in state spending.
     
Gregoire's spokesman says state agencies are being told to squeeze the raises out of existing budgets, so they don't add to the deficit.
     
State workers also would pay about 12 percent of their health care costs, with government picking up the rest.

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