One of Gov. Butch Otter’s most controversial proposals in his budget – to provide zero funding for raises for state employees – has been endorsed by the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee, for purposes of building its budgets for each state agency. Otter recommended increases only to comply with statutorily required boosts for statewide elected officials and for certain military division employees due to federal pay schedule changes; state employee pay, though it remains far below market levels according to state studies, wouldn’t change.
Sen. Dan Schmidt, D-Moscow, asked whether JFAC members could still consider including raises in state agency budgets on a case by case basis, and JFAC Co-Chair Dean Cameron, R-Rupert, said yes; today’s decision wouldn’t preclude JFAC members from making such proposals.
JFAC will start setting agency budgets on Tuesday morning; that will also be the start of the joint committee's early-morning, 7 a.m. work sessions prior to its 8 a.m. budget setting.