says state employees at poverty level
Gov. Dirk Kempthorne
Dear Governor Kempthorne:
During CEC testimony many state employees shared with us the
fact that they have lost 6% of their buying power this past
two years. Obviously, a 2% increase will only make up part
of the ground.
Members of the CEC Committee were disturbed to hear testimony
of how many employees work at from 1-5 extra jobs to survive,
utilize food stamps, and are on welfare or qualify for welfare.
I was interested to learn how many of our state employees
are paid below the poverty level. This is a summary of my
The state employees 12,006 full time classified
employees and 618 or 5.1% make less than the $19,000 poverty
BSU--BSU has 1747 total regular benefit
eligible employees. A total of 181 or about 10.36% are at
or below the poverty line. I suspect the findings for other
educational institutions would be similar.
A letter from a BSU employee reported that
"Last week my husband, who works for the facilities
maintenance department, brought home a form called "BSU
Goodwill Request Form," which is a request to receive
free meals. Instead of paying a livable salary they are
providing with their own letterhead, a request to receive
free meals for at least two meals a week. The forms were
handed out shortly before discussions of whether or not
to provide state employees a 2% raise." One cringes
when it looks like our flagship institutions are starting
to develop soup kitchens to take care of state employees.
A survey of our state school districts indicate
that of the over 14,000 non classified staff that about
34% are at or below the $19,000 or poverty level.
State employees are almost in 100% agreement
that a pay increase should be across the board. They say
that when agencies are delegated authority to use salary
increase monies that employees and administrators at the
top get just about everything and those at the bottom get
I wanted to share these concerns with you. The data clearly
are not the type that one wants to convey as bragging rights
about how the State of Idaho takes care of their working force.
Rep. Tom Trail, Moscow