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Senate Appropriatiions Committee okays "2 and 2" pay plan for state employees

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The State Senate Appropriations Committee has endorsed a pay plan for state employees.

The plan would give state workers two percent per year for each of the next two years.

Sen. Tim Mathern (R-Fargo) proposed a plan for three percent per year raises. He credited state employees for keeping government open during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We have a reasonable amount of money available to provide that raise," Mathern said. "And so I believe it's incumbent that we go to the 3 and 3."

Mathern’s proposal also would also increase the contributions to the state’s retirement plan by two percent – one percent paid by the state, and one percent by the employee. He told the Committee the unfunded liability for the retirement plan is now up to $1.4 billion.

The committee chairman – Sen. Ray Holmberg (R-Grand Forks)  – said there’s still work to be done on spending plans before a final decision can be made on raises. But at least one committee member – Sen.  Dick Dever (R-Bismarck) – said he hopes the discussion isn’t ended, especially on the retirement plan.

"I would love to support it," Dever said. "I hope we have an opportunity to continue the discussion later. But for now, no."

The language of the pay plan was added to the budget for the Indian Affairs Commission, where it will get a test vote.

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