Legislation setting levels of pay for Gov. Butch Otter and six others - the lieutenant governor, secretary of state, state treasurer, attorney general, state controller, and superintendent of public instruction - received tweaks from members of the Idaho House Tuesday.
During a session of the chamber's amending process, Rep. Lynn Luker, R-Boise, proposed a slight change to the rate of pay for the seven officials covered under the legislation. The original bill outlined the levels of pay for the next four years for the officers. In 2011, those covered would be forced to take a 4 percent pay cut, though in 2012 their levels of pay would be returned to 2010 levels. Otter's pay, which helps determine the amount of compensation for the six others, would increase to $121,000 in 2013 and $125,000 in 2014 under the original bill.
In the committee hearing on the bill, Luker told lawmakers that due to economic conditions, he feels larger raises for the officers aren't appropriate. On the House floor Tuesday, Luker pitched an amendment that would reduce Otter's pay. Under Luker's measure, Otter would receive $117,000 in 2013 and $119,000 in 2014. His move would not directly affect the pay of the other six officers, but as a result of lowering the governor’s salary, the pay for the other six would be reduced.
Rep. Anne Pasley-Stuart, D-Boise, stood in opposition to the salary changes. She urged lawmakers to vote against the legislation because she believes Idaho is already behind in executive compensation, which she says could lead to talented officials avoiding the state due to lower wages.
Gov. Butch Otter ranks as the 13th lowest-paid state executive in the nation.
Despite Pasley-Stuart's pleas, House members voted to accept Luker's changes. With the new language inserted, the House will vote on the bill later this week.
(Note: Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna, who would receive a raise under the plan if re-elected in November, opposes the legislation. Find out why here.)
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