Legislators discuss state employee wage increases, mining legislation and more

State Rep. Michael Schraa, R-Town of Algoma, said Thursday that money has been set aside in Wisconsin’s budget to give state employees a wage increase.

“I’m going to make all the state employees very happy,” Schraa said during a town meeting, in response to a question about pay raises. “I can’t be specific, but the budget does have a pay increase for all state employees. I can’t give you a percentage, because there’s some factors that are involved regarding some of the union contracts, some of the bargaining units that are actually still open.”

About 25 people attended the meeting held by Schraa, U.S. Rep. Tom Petri, R-Wis., and State Sen. Rick Gudex, R-Fond du Lac,  on Thursday at the Oshkosh City Hall. One person stood near the wall with a sign protesting the creation of a mine in northern Wisconsin.

Legislators answered constituents’ questions involving mining legislation and public employee wages in Wisconsin, and gun control legislation and campaign finance reform at the federal level.

Schraa said the state employee wage increases were discussed in caucus before the budget was announced. He said he can’t yet give a specific percentage, and it’s unclear whether the increase would be given across the board for all employees.

“That will be forthcoming,” Schraa said. “There was money set aside, and all the details would work themselves out, I would guess, in the next month or so.”

Schraa and Gudex also reiterated their support for the bill that would overhaul Wisconsin’s iron mining regulations. Both said they believe the bill has been strengthened by its amendments and allows for proper environmental protection from agencies like the Department of Natural Resources and the Army Corps of Engineers.

“We need to figure out how to work as a cohesive unit, having those that are really sensitive to the environmental issues and those that are really sensitive to the economic issues … there has to be a road that we can go down where we can work together to keep this progress moving,” Gudex said.

About Jessie Opoien

Jessie Opoien joined the Oshkosh Northwestern as a reporter in December 2011. Politics and education issues are her specialties, but she loves to tell a good story regardless of the topic. You can find her on Twitter as @jessieopie.
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