LANSING, MI –
The Republican-led state Senate failed to block a 3% pay raise for state employees. The measure would save the state nearly $50 million.
Nearly all of the Senate Republicans voted to freeze state worker salaries at current levels. But the GOP needed a two-thirds majority to pass the measure. All but one Democrat opposed the Republican proposal.
Democratic state Senator Mickey Switalski says he does not want to block a pay raise promised to state workers. But, he says, withholding the raise would be better than laying off more people.
"Solidarity means looking out for each other, and the last thing we need in Michigan is more unemployed workers," he says.
Tempers flared on the Senate floor, and many lengthy statements preceded the nearly party-line vote. Republican leaders in the Senate say they will bring the issue to a vote again. First they will need to find at least three more Democrats who think state employee salaries should be frozen.