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Eye On Boise

JFAC balks at funding raises for top state elected officials, then OKs it by one vote

The Legislature’s joint budget committee nearly deadlocked this morning over the funding for statewide elected officials’ raises for next year, with a 9-9 tie vote after many members expressed concerns about granting bigger raises to top officials next year than state employees are getting. But Sen. Cliff Bayer, R-Boise, had yet to vote; after much hesitation, he voted aye, and the appropriation passed on a 10-9 vote.

“Looks like leadership has some work to do,” said Sen. Dean Cameron, R-Rupert, co-chairman of the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee. JFAC’s measure is a “trailer” bill to SB 1395, the bill that grants raises to top state elected officials every year for the next four years; it passed the Senate yesterday on a 30-5 vote. The appropriation bill will “trail” after SB 1395; if that measure doesn’t pass the House, the appropriation bill would be pulled back.

“I have some problems with this,” said Rep. George Eskridge, R-Dover. “I have the feeling that given what we’re doing with the state employees of the state, a 1 percent ongoing and no definite signal as to what we’re doing in the future, I just … will probably not be supporting this bill.”

Rep. Steven Miller, R-Fairfield, said, “It does seem odd to me that we’re giving these kinds of increases, given the other things we’re doing with state employees.”

In the 10-9 vote, those voting no were Sens. Mortimer, Vick, Nuxoll, and Schmidt, and Reps. Eskridge, Stevenson, Miller, Ringo and King. Voting yes were Sens. Cameron, Keough, Johnson, Bayer, Thayn and Lacey, and Reps. Bell, Bolz, Gibbs and Youngblood. Rep. Jeff Thompson, R-Idaho Falls, missed the vote.

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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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