Back in June, a citizens committee recommended that state legislators get a 5 percent raise this year, from $16,116 to $16,921, effective this month. The committee’s recommendation takes effect unless lawmakers reject it by concurrent resolution prior to the 25th day of the upcoming legislative session, which starts Jan. 12. Now, Democratic legislators are calling for rejecting the raise. “Simply put, we are unwilling to take the pay raise recommended by the compensation committee at a time when so many Idaho families and small businesses are hurting,” said Sen. Les Bock, D-Boise, who said he’ll introduce a resolution in the Senate in January to reject the pay boost. Rep. Anne Pasley-Stuart, D-Boise, who said she’ll co-sponsor the resolution in the House, said, “It would be irresponsible to accept a pay raise. When I went door to door during the campaign, the economy was the number one issue that came up.”
Idaho is in the midst of mid-year budget cuts that are requiring hundreds of state employees to take time off work without pay, and Gov. Butch Otter has signaled he’ll be calling for zero raises for state employees next year due to the budget crunch.
The Dems likely will find that Republicans agree on rejecting the raise, House Speaker Lawerence Denney said. “In the House, it’ll probably be overwhelming,” he told Eye on Boise. “With the budgets the way they are, I think it’s going to be difficult for us to accept any pay increase.”
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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