Budget writers seek equitable way to boost pay for state employees

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - Budget writers say Idaho's practice of relying on savings from not filling positions to cover raises for remaining state workers was troubling.

This came as Gov. Butch Otter's budget chief, Jani Revier, told the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee Tuesday his 2015 budget included no additional money for pay hikes.

In fact, roughly 17,000 workers will likely see take-home decrease, as they cover higher health care costs.

The House-Senate panel's members suggested that was no way to retain good employees.

Rep. Maxine Bell, the committee's co-chair, said it's unfair that Idaho appears to have adopted a system of using salary savings to cover worker pay hikes, rather than actually setting aside more money.

Revier responded this wasn't a "long-term solution," but one necessitated by a shortage of revenue to cover it.