OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Gov. Jay Inslee’s budget director says the Legislature lacks authority to enact a proposal by Senate Republicans to give state workers $1,000 pay raises.

The News Tribune reports a letter from Inslee’s budget director, David Schumacher, says state employee contracts have to be negotiated through collective bargaining with the governor’s office. The Legislature has up-or-down approval power over the contracts but cannot alter terms, Schumacher said.

Senate budget writer Andy Hill, Republican from Redmond, told the newspaper the plan to reject labor contracts and instead award the pay raises is a “policy guideline, or a recommendation, or a suggestion” to save money. Republican leaders said the strategy would save the state $75 million compared to the House budget plan.

 

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