The Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee has voted 14-5 to impose a 3 percent, across-the-board pay cut on all state employees next year, as part of an overall 5 percent cut in personnel funding statewide. The joint committee had been debating between requiring 2 percent or 3 percent as the required cut. Sen. Jim Hammond, R-Post Falls, was among those opposing the 3 percent figure. “Why would we intentionally go to a 3 percent salary reduction when we don’t know for sure that we have to go that deep?” he asked. “We are still not competitive in terms of how we compensate our employees.” Backers of the move said they want fairness and uniformity in how cuts are handled among state agencies. “What we really want to do is to keep as many jobs as we can,” said Rep. Fred Wood, R-Burley. The requirement for the one-year pay cut, effective for fiscal year 2010, will now be written into every budget bill the joint committee passes.
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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