Our Boise correspondent, Betsy Russell, reports that Idaho's joint legislative budget committee has voted this mroning for a 3 percent pay cut next year for all state employees in Idaho. Writes Russell:
The Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee voted 14-5 to impose the 3 percent pay cut on all state employees next year, as part of an overall 5 percent cut in personnel funding statewide. The joint committee had been debating between requiring 2 percent or 3 percent as the required cut; Gov. Butch Otter favored no across-the-board cut, leaving all decisions on how to meet the 5 percent reduction up to state agency heads.
Sen. Jim Hammond, R-Post Falls, was among those opposing the 3 percent figure. “Why would we intentionally go to a 3 percent salary reduction when we don’t know for sure that we have to go that deep?” he asked. “We are still not competitive in terms of how we compensate our employees.”
Backers of the move said they want fairness and uniformity in how cuts are handled among state agencies. “What we really want to do is to keep as many jobs as we can,” said Rep. Fred Wood, R-Burley.