Talking points on House Bill 13, the state pay plan

• Passing HB 13 is the right thing to do for Montana's communities, local economies, and our hard-working, dedicated state and university employees.

• Montana’s state and higher education employees live and work in communities all across Montana, providing services that help Montana’s citizens and businesses thrive. Their work contributes directly to Montana’s economy and jobs. 
• State & higher education employees are people such as:

  • The probation and parole officers who keep communities safe for families and businesses.
  • The nurses who care for our veterans at the state Veterans Home.
  • The professors who prepare our students for successful jobs.
  • The snowplow operators who keep our roads safe.
  • The scientists who prevent outbreaks like salmonella from becoming epidemics.
  • The faculty who conduct research that creates new businesses and jobs.
  • And much more.

• They boost local economies. They are taxpayers. They spend their paychecks in their local communities, buying local goods and services. They make a big difference to local businesses.

• They are community volunteers. They teach Sunday school, coach Little League, volunteer for Big Brothers and Sisters, and more.

• Their base pay has been frozen for four years. They voluntarily agreed to the first two-year freeze in the 2009 legislature, because they knew times were hard. By so doing, they helped Montana recover from the Great Recession. Montana’s economy is now improving rapidly.

In 2011, the state legislature chose not to act on the state pay plan, thus freezing salaries for two more years.  

• It’s time to do the right thing. The money is available in the state budget. 

• Private-sector salaries in Montana have increased by 8% on average since 2008, while state employee salaries have remained frozen. 

• The average Montana state employee earns about 14.5% less than their counterparts in Montana and the four surrounding states as of November 2012,

• State employee turnover is now over 13%. The cost of turnover to taxpayers is estimated to be 1 and 1 ½ times the employee’s annual salary.  That estimate does not include the resulting loss in service or the increased liability of an untrained workforce.

• State employees are taking second jobs in record numbers to make ends meet.

• The pay increase in HB 13 will allow state and higher ed employees to contribute more to their local economies. The pay plan’s 5% increase will have a major positive economic impact on the many Montana communities where they live and work.

• State and higher education employees are worth it. They are a bargain and a good investment.

About HB 13:
Section 1 provides 5% across-the-board pay raises for all executive branch employees in July 2013 and again in July 2014.  Section 2 provides a 10% increase in the state’s share towards each employee’s health plan.  This change will occur in January 2014 and again in January 2015, except for university system employees whose benefit year begins in July.