Louisiana governor seeking $7M pay hike for prison officers
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Gov. John Bel Edwards' administration is asking lawmakers to give prison guards a pay raise that would cost $7 million next year, even as Louisiana struggles with a $648 million budget gap.
The Edwards administration says the salary increase is needed to stem prison turnover rates that are so high they threaten public safety. The majority-Republican House Appropriations Committee spurned the request, refusing to add dollars in this year's budget to start the pay hike in May.
Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne says the raises, varying from two percent to fivepercent, would cost $1.3 million this year and $7.1 million in the budget year beginning July 1. House GOP leader Lance Harris said the request was "surprising" when the state doesn't have enough money to continue its current programs.
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