State employees could get an annual cost-of-living pay raise under a plan approved Monday by a Senate committee.

SB 1114 would create an annual salary adjustment for most rank and file workers in the state budget tied to the consumer price index – the annual change in prices paid by consumers for goods and services – a 1.6% increase between 2018 and 2019.

While the measure requires state economists to calculate an annual cost of living adjustment, the measure does not require the Legislature to fund it.

Armed with a staff analysis that documented state pay raises and the rate of inflation since 2005, Sen. Bill Montford, D- Tallahassee made his case for an annual cost-of-living increase for more than 90,000 state employees.

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He explained that while prices have increased more than 7% over just the past five years, state employees pay, on average, has increased just 4% in that same time – $35,564 in 2014 compared to $37,163 in 2019.

“I think this bill sends a clear message. I know our employees have suffered, sometimes inappropriately,” said Sen. Ed Hooper, R-Palm Bay, the committee’s chair.

“We wish only good things for this bill as it moves through the process,” said Hooper before the vote.

When it came time to close on the proposal, Montford told Hooper he wanted to echo his remarks about state workers.

“We are truly blessed with the state employees we do have,” said Montford. “A lot of times we say we want government to run like a business. Well, a good successful business respects their employees. This is a good way for the Florida Legislature to send that message.”

The Senate Government Oversight Committee approved the measure with a unanimous vote. It has two more committee stops before it will be heard on the Senate floor.

Writer James Call can be contacted at Follow on Twitter @CallTallahassee.