LITTLE ROCK — The co-chairmen of the legislative Joint Budget Committee said Tuesday that legislators have not given up on the idea of finding a way to provide a cost-of-living adjustment for state employees in the next fiscal year.

LITTLE ROCK — The co-chairmen of the legislative Joint Budget Committee said Tuesday that legislators have not given up on the idea of finding a way to provide a cost-of-living adjustment for state employees in the next fiscal year.

The issue did not come up Tuesday during the committee’s final hearing before the fiscal session that starts Feb. 13, but Sen. Gilbert Baker, R-Conway, and Rep. Kathy Webb, D-Little Rock, told reporters after the hearing that lawmakers are trying to find a way to fund a COLA.

“We’re just getting the information out to members on what the general revenue cost would be for a COLA,” Webb said. “Members requested that a week and a half ago based on different salary levels and different COLA amounts. We’ve just gotten that ourselves.”

A 2-percent adjustment would cost $14.5 million in general revenue if extended to all state workers, Baker said.

“Obviously, the less people you give a COLA to the less expensive the full COLA,” he said.

Baker said lawmakers are discussing “a lot of scenarios.”

Gov. Mike Beebe’s proposed budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1 includes $163 million in spending increases but no COLA for state employees.

Last year, Beebe proposed a 1.86 percent raise for state workers in his budget for the current fiscal year, but the COLA was axed when the Legislature approved about $20 million more in tax cuts than the governor requested.

Beebe said in January he believes state employees deserve an increase but “the additional tax cuts precluded our ability to do that because you can’t spend what you don’t have.”