State worker contracts to cost more than budgeted

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SALEM, Ore. (AP) -- Oregon budget officials say recently ratified contracts with major state-worker unions will cost millions more than lawmakers budgeted.

The estimated $42 million spending shortfall is the latest hit to a budget already reeling from lower revenue projections.

The state Legislature crafted a budget this year that included funding for a 6 percent increase in personnel costs. But under the final agreement reached with the unions, employee compensation costs rise by an estimated 7.4 percent.

Officials attribute the difference to the cost of raises negotiated in previous years.

Union officials say employees' take-home pay was virtually flat because workers are taking unpaid days off work and covering part of their health care costs.

A spokesman for Gov. John Kitzhaber says state agencies will absorb the additional costs of paying their workers.