ARDMORE, OK - $37.5 million dollars. That's how much money the Oklahoma legislature has budgeted for targeted salary increases to about 12,000 state employees at 25 agencies.
Senator Frank Simpson explained why he thinks the price tag is worth it.
"Allows us to attract a higher quality state employee," Simpson said. "It allows us to stabilize some of the positions within state employment because as we know we've got some positions that are very high turnover."
And some taxpayers we spoke to agree.
"Especially for workers working out in the public alongside roadways, on highways and they're having to deal with dangerous situations," said taxpayer Rhonda Butler.
The raises range from about 6 percent to 13 percent and would go to employees that are the most underpaid, which will be determined by a compensation study. Workers in corrections, social services, public safety, and health care could receive raises as well as investigators at the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation and Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics.
Other taxpayers want to see increased pay for different state employees too.
"If the money's better then you're going to get better quality teachers," said taxpayer Dale Butler.