Idaho Legislature Weighs 2% Pay Raise For State Workers

Jan 10, 2020

Idaho lawmakers are digesting the governor’s proposal to give state employees a 2% pay bump in the coming fiscal year.

State officials say public employee compensation in Idaho lags about 12% behind both the private sector and other public employees elsewhere. That’s counting both salary and benefits.

Gov. Brad Little’s (R) plan for a 2% raise would cost $19.2 million.

State Rep. John Gannon (D-Boise), who serves on the Change in Employee Compensation Committee (CECC), says a 2% bump in pay isn’t enough for people to keep up with rising rents and property taxes.

“This 2% increase is not even going to keep state employees whole relative to what the economy is doing,” Gannon said.

But the committee co-chair, Sen. Jim Patrick (R-Twin Falls), says he’d rather focus right now on some kind of property tax reform to head off that problem.

“I think we need to find a solution to that maybe first because more money to employees doesn’t solve that tax problem,” Patrick said. “It’ll continue on.”

The U.S. city average for the consumer price index pegged inflation at 2.1% from November 2018 to November 2019, according to the Idaho Department of Labor.

Last year, state employees got a 2% raise, plus a flat $500 built into their base salary, effectively boosting the pay of lower-income employees at a higher rate.

CECC will finalize its report to the state budget writers next Thursday.

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