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Eye On Boise

CEC Committee unanimous in vote for raises for state workers

The Legislature’s special employee compensation committee has voted unanimously, 17-0, in favor of the motion from its co-chair, Rep. Neil Anderson, R-Blackfoot, to fund 2 percent in raises for state employees next year – 1 percent for one-time bonuses, and 1 percent for permanent pay boosts. The pay would be distributed by agency directors based on merit and other factors, and agencies also would be encouraged to tap salary savings to give additional merit boosts. The recommendation will come from the joint CEC committee to legislative budget writers. You can see the full motion here; it says “Draft,” but this is the language the committee voted to approve.

Rep. Stephen Hartgen, R-Twin Falls, noted that the motion also includes reconvening the CEC Committee again next year, a move he said was important. “It has been a number of years since we had a functioning CEC committee. We entered a very sharp decline. … Almost a third of state revenue essentially disappeared in an 18-month period.” Hartgen said this move was appropriate now, “as we climb back out of that recession.”

Sen. Fred Martin, R-Boise, said, “I would like also to see at least a (permanent) 2 percent, but I think this is a good compromise. … We as a committee can come back next year and evaluate whether or not to make it permanent. … I feel a real strong need to balance the needs between the state employees and the fact that their and our pay comes from the taxpayer of the state of Idaho.”

Rep. Holli High Woodings, D-Boise, said, “I’ve learned so much over the last three days, more than I ever thought I would know about employee compensation.” She said she, like Sen. Jim Guthrie, would have preferred a 2 percent permanent raise, but, “I’ll support the motion we have before us. It’s been a tremendous opportunity to learn and also a tremendous opportunity to do what’s right by our state employees, who work very, very hard for us and deserve the compensation that reflects that.”

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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