Joint Budget Committee gives initial OK to 3 percent pay raises for Colorado state workers

DENVER - Colorado budget-writing lawmakers gave initial approval to a 3 percent salary increase for state workers amid Republican opposition.

The Joint Budget Committee voted 4-2 Monday to include the salary hike and a 1.5 percent merit-pay increase in the spending package the entire Colorado Legislature will vote on later this spring.

The two votes in opposition for the salary increase came from Republicans. They insist they're not against raises for state workers, but say they have problems with how the increase is being calculated.

Lawmakers and state workers pushing for the raise say it's needed to keep up with inflation.

Last year, lawmakers approved a 2 percent raise for state workers. It was the first pay raise in several years.