Idaho agency directors support Gov. Little’s pay raise for employees

Idaho state agency directors say Governor Brad Little’s budget giving state employees a 2 percent raise will help keep the state competitive and retain workers. The Change in Employee Compensation Committee on Thursday heard testimony concerning pay for the state’s 25,000 employees from, among others, the directors of the Idaho State Police, Idaho Department of Correction, and the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, who noted 388 employees voluntarily left the latter agency, many for jobs with a pay increase of about 30 percent. The state has been boosting employee pay, increasing it 2 percent last year plus a $500 additional payout. Still, officials say the state’s total compensation for employees including benefits is 12 percent below the market. Committee co-chair Representative Neil Anderson also summarized written comments from about 30 state employees. He said the general concerns included new hires making the same as workers who had been there for several years, that the benefits were good but they didn’t pay the bills, and that housing costs were rising in many parts of the state. The committee votes next week on whether to cut, approve, or increase Little’s recommendation to raise employee pay at a cost of $19.2 million. The panel’s decision will then be sent to the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee for consideration.  (AP)