Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo has withdrawn her cost-cutting proposal to freeze "longevity pay" at a fixed dollar amount, averting a showdown with Rhode Island's public employee unions.
J. Michael Downey, president of Council 94, AFSCME, the largest state employees union, expressed relief.
The Providence Journal reports that about one of every five state dollars in Raimondo's proposed budget would pay for employee salaries and benefits. Specifically, $1.63 billion is earmarked for 15,119 full-time state employees and $284.3 million for consultants and other purchased services.
It includes the cost of the three unfunded, 2 percent raises agreed to by former Gov. Lincoln Chafee over 18 months.
State lawmakers eliminated the bonus-pay program in 2011 and state workers have not had new longevity bonuses since. But employees did not lose bonuses they already accrued.