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State Employees Group Gives Thumbs-Up to Governor's Budget

December 11, 2006

Bismarck, ND - State employee groups are giving the thumbs-up to North Dakota Governor John Hoeven's budget plan for the 2007-2009 biennium. It calls for 4 percent pay increases each year, as well as the continuation of fully-funded family health insurance.

Gary Feist, of the North Dakota Public Employees Association, says while he had hoped for a 5 percent increase the first year, he's happy with the governor's plan. He believes it will help the state hire and retain top quality public servants.

"The state's goal was to get employees' salaries to within 95 percent of the market, meaning the North Dakota market and a ten-state region that they use for comparison."

The plan calls for $52 million in additional funding for higher education, which Feist hopes will help the state compete for professors and staff members.

"Funding of higher education will also allow faculty and staff at the universities to be competitive with other universities in the United States."

Some employees may be eligible for additional increases. The governor's proposal includes an equity pool of $10 million to recognize workers for their longevity. The budget now goes to state lawmakers for consideration.

Debbie Aasen/Eric Mack, Public News Service - ND