“House Bill 175 is a bill that would increase pay for state employees,” said Tschida. “Inflationary factors require that certain individuals receive increases in pay, but typically in the past the Governor has tried to negotiate with the unions to implement a percentage increase rather than a certain dollar amount. What that does obviously is allows people at the highest end, those making over $100,000 a year to receive a tremendous amount of an increase, while those who are working some of the more difficult jobs are not receiving the same kind of increase.”

Tschida describes the proposal set forth by Representative Dooling.

“We went to a specified dollar amount, which will be fifty cents per hour starting in 2020 and then another 50 cents per hour starting in 2021,” he said. “There may be some resistance to the idea of spending any more money on state employee pay, however, I understand that there are certain inflationary factors that need to be accounted for to benefit those at the lower end of the state pay scale. In this case, we’re trying to benefit those who fall below the pay that an average Montanan makes, and those above that will not receive a great deal more in their paychecks.”

HB 175 is expected to pass with bipartisan support out of the House this week.