Here's a link to my full story at spokesman.com on how extensive surveys from the state's expert contractors show state employee compensation still lags far behind the market, but some lawmakers are questioning the data. It matters because state law requires that the state pay competitive wages and benefits to attract and retain a quality workforce. Gov. Butch Otter is recommending another 3 percent in merit raises next year; his budget director, Jani Revier, urged lawmakers to grant the request.
After much debate - Co-Chairman Rep. Neil Anderson, R-Blackfoot, called it a "spirited discussion" - the Legislature's joint Change in Employee Compensation Committee wrapped up its first meeting today and still will hold two more meetings over the next week, and hear from an interim legislative panel that’s recommending re-bidding the state employee health insurance plan and making other changes. Then it’ll vote on its recommendation to the Legislature’s budget committee for state employee pay and benefits.
The joint budget committee will make the final call, then factor those costs into every state budget it sets this year; Otter still can sign or veto each of those bills.