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Sunday, August 25, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Idaho

Idaho budget includes pay hike for state employees

By William L. Spence Lewiston Tribune

BOISE – The Legislature’s joint budget committee adopted a $4.01 billion revenue target for fiscal 2020 on Tuesday, taking its first steps toward setting next year’s agency budgets.

The committee also approved a minimum $550 annual raise for all permanent state employees, and shifted the state compensation schedule upwards by 3 percent to try and keep pace with market rates.

The $550 raise was proposed by a legislative compensation committee, as an alternative to the 3 percent, merit-based raise that Gov. Brad Little had recommended. Both plans cost the same – about $20.5 million – but the legislative proposal gives lower-paid employees a larger percentage increase.

The $4.01 billion revenue target is a $262.5 million, a 7 percent increase over projected 2019 revenues. However, the figure is somewhat skewed because of the unusual nature of the current tax year.

Changes in the federal and state tax codes in 2017 and ‘18, respectively, will likely result in a number of taxpayers under-withholding this year. That means people could face sizable tax bills come April; some of them will need to set up repayment schedules, if they can’t pay off the entire amount.

The Idaho State Tax Commission estimates that $50 million in collections will be bumped from fiscal ‘19 into fiscal ‘20, because of this repayment issue. Once that’s factored in, the projected revenue growth in fiscal 2020 would be closer to $210 million, or 5.6 percent.

Following Tuesday’s action, the budget committee will begin setting agency budgets on Friday. That process is expected to last about three weeks.

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