The state’s new official Report to the Governor on state employee compensation and benefits is out, and it recommends merit-based raises averaging 3 percent for state employees next year. If approved, that’d be the biggest raise targeted toward state employees since 2008.
Idaho state employees went without raises for years during the state’s economic downturn. Lawmakers funded 1 percent in merit-based raises this year, with another 1 percent in one-time bonuses, though Gov. Butch Otter had recommended zero funding for raises. In the five years preceding this year, lawmakers approved only one 2 percent raise for state workers – they also got a 5 percent cut.
“Although Idaho has not kept pace with salary increases … it is understandable due to the economic and funding challenges in the past which have restricted the state from providing salary increases,” says the report from the state’s Division of Human Resources. “However, even during challenging times, salary increases are important in order to reward performance and retain talent.”
It found that classified state employees have an average salary of $41,308, and their pay lags 19.8 percent behind market rates. The report also found that Idaho’s state employee pay ranks last among seven comparison states: Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. You can read the full report online here, and read my full Sunday column here.