Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Updated: Legislative budget committees slightly modify pay cut for all NSHE employees

This morning the joint budget committees of the state Assembly and state Senate voted, after lengthy discussion, not to recommend the full 5% pay cut for state employees, including NSHE faculty and staff, which the Governor had recommended in his executive budget.

By a party line vote, the committees opted instead for a compromise -- half pay cut, half furlough. Specifically a 2.5% reduction in base pay and another 2.3% reduction in the form of 6 unpaid furlough days, without exemptions, for all state employees. Those employees not subject to furlough will have a 4.8% cut in base pay and in retirement contributions.

To be clear this still means a loss of 4.8% out of paychecks for everyone. It appears that what this would mean for NSHE is that classified and professional staff would have a 2.5% pay cut from their 2009 base pay and 6 unpaid furlough days for 2011-2013 (so a total loss of 4.8% from 2009 pay but only 2.5% loss of base pay), while faculty at all levels will have a 4.8% pay reduction from 2009 level. Whether or not faculty might be covered by the furlough which would allow the base to remain at 97.5% of 2009 levels was not clear from the committee hearing.

This decision is of course highly provisional and will depend on a successful budget closing, which is at best weeks away. Its possibly, even likely, this decision might be revisited by the full Assembly and Senate as part of that final budget closing.

The NFA joined with other public service advocates in testifying against the pay cut and calling for a furlough to mitigate the impact on higher education. (A full report on this and the PEBP hearing yesterday will be posted on the NFA site shortly.)

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