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State employee pay increase OK'd by Senate

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news Brainerd, 56401

Brainerd MN 506 James St. / PO Box 974 56401

ST. PAUL - Minnesota state employees will receive raises, in some cases for the first time in years, if the House agrees with the Senate.

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Senators Monday approved 43-22 pay raises of 3 percent this year and again next year for most state workers.

"More than half of our state employees received zero percent increase," Sen. James Metzen, D-South St. Paul, said, because of a struggling economy. "These state employees helped us get through the recession."

While workers will get more pay, Metzen said they also will pay more for health insurance.

Sen. Michelle Benson, R-Ham Lake, said some private businesses have not recovered from the recession, indicating it may be too soon to give government workers more money while private firms continue to struggle.

A business in her community, she said, laid off people and cut existing workers' pay. "Little by little, as the economy recovered," the pay has increased, she added.

The bill also is moving through the House committee process.

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