The Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee has voted unanimously, 20-0, to add a clause "requesting" state colleges and universities to cut pay across the board by 3 percent into the higher ed budget, and to handle the remaining portion of a 5 percent cut in personnel funding through measures including salary savings, furloughs or layoffs. JFAC can't order such a pay cut; both constitutional issues regarding the authority of the state Board of Education and legal issues involving contracts and grants that affect faculty pay prevent that.
"I'm not entirely positive we have no other options," said Sen. Nicole LeFavour, D-Boise. "We have some stimulus funds the governor has said he desires to go to other things, roads and the like." LeFavour said she has misgivings about ordering such pay cuts for all state employees. "I certainly wouldn't vote for this with any great enthusiasm," she said. Rep. Shirley Ringo, D-Moscow, said, "I think my vote for this motion reflects the fact that I think we are making it possible for the universities to operate as they need to within the limits of that arrangement that we've made."