State employees will receive between 2 percent and 4.5 percent more money next year depending on how well they and their bosses perform, lawmakers have decided.
Members of the Executive Appropriations Committee, a group charged with writing the state's fiscal budget, finished their work Monday night, drafting a budget bill that will be considered Wednesday night by the House and Senate.While they broke an impasse on employee' salaries, members of the committee failed to reach an agreement on raises for state judges. Senate Republicans held firm on their demand for a $72,000 yearly salary for state Supreme Court associate justices. House Republicans remained firm on demands for a $70,000 yearly salary. The current salary is $64,000.
If judges are to receive more money, lawmakers will have to pass a separate bill, said committee co-chairman Rep. Glen E. Brown, R-Coalville. The committee gave up trying to reach a compromise.
Concerning the employees' salaries, members of the committee voted to provide enough money for a 3 percent raise for all. However, they voted to limit raises to 2 percent for all and to allow state agencies to grant up to 2.5 percent more for merit increases if they find ways to save money elsewhere.
The committee also voted to transfer $2.4 million from the state's long-term disability insurance fund to the state's health insurance fund to defray the rising cost of premiums.
State employees, who had been paying a flat $5 fee each time they visited a doctor, now will pay $10.
Last week, members of the committee voted to give Gov. Norm Bangerter a 17 percent pay raise, from $60,000 yearly to $70,000. They also voted to raise the salaries of other elected officials by smaller percentages.
Bangerter has yet to take a position on the recommendation concerning his own salary.
After more than a week of wrangling, members of the committee ended up with an overall budget similar to what Bangerter recommended at the beginning of the session. Bangerter had asked for 3 percent merit raises for state employees.
However, lawmakers have yet to decide whether to grant Bangerter's wish and reduce taxes by $19 million. Senators voted in a caucus meeting Monday not to grant a decrease. However, House Republicans voted to fight for a sales tax decrease rather than to follow Bangerter's recommendation for an income tax decrease.
Lawmakers have until midnight Wednesday to make a decision.