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State Pay Plan Passes House

February 17, 2009

(Helena) – Secretary of State Linda McCulloch continues to back the State Pay Plan. The proposal, which is now before the Senate Finance and Claims Committee, holds salaries at their current rate for most public employees over the next two years.

“I stand behind this proposal, because it honors the agreement reached between State Employees and Governor Schweitzer,” said McCulloch. “I wish our economy could instead sustain raises for all state employees, but these are tough times.”

To supplement the salary adjustment, House Bill 13 proposes to provide $24 million in new money for state employees. In addition to increased state payments toward health insurance premiums, checks will also be mailed to more than 5,000 full and part-time state employees.

Full-time employees with a base pay of $45,000/year or less will receive a one-time, lump sum payment of $450. Part-time employees whose base pay is $21.63/hour or less and who work 20 hours or more each week will receive $225.

“State employees work hard to provide a number of critical services to the folks of Montana,” said McCulloch. “I praise their diplomacy in negotiating this difficult agreement. I know it wasn’t easy.”

To further support state employees, Secretary McCulloch has chosen to forego her pay increase this summer. She was scheduled to receive a statutory increase based on a survey of four surrounding states. Her salary increase would have been 4.2% or $3,290.

House Bill 13 is sponsored by Representative Chuck Hunter, (D)-Helena. The bill passed its first hearing before the House Appropriations Committee on an 18-2 vote. A few days later, it received nearly a 2/3rds majority vote on the House Floor.