Drexel University

When my wife became a nurse I suggested we move to Oregon where RNs make in excess of $20,000 a year more than in Idaho. I was joking (mostly) but that gap is hard to ignore. And it’s not much smaller for Washington or Nevada. Now a new info-graphic from Drexel University says we should ignore those raw salary numbers because Idaho is financially the best place to be a nurse.

Construction Worker
Molly Messick / StateImpact Idaho

Idaho workers saw the largest per capita income increase in the country in 2013, according to data recently released by the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis. The 2.4 percent increase was substantially higher than 0.1 percent increase seen nationally.

Effort To Raise Idaho's Minimum Wage Focuses On North Idaho Town

Apr 6, 2015

The Coeur d'Alene Press reports a former lawmaker and minimum wage increase advocate Anne Nesse has submitted paperwork to get a minimum wage increase on the local ballot. Voters may have the chance to raise the local minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $8.75 in 2016, then $10.25 in 2017.

Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

Real estate data company RealtyTrac says Boise is in better shape than most of the country when it comes to the difference between wages and home prices.

RealtyTrac looked at wage growth and home price growth from 2012 to 2014 in the nation’s 184-largest metro areas. Nationally, price growth outpaced wage growth 13-to-one. RealtyTrac vice president Daren Blomquist says in Boise, it was closer to four-to-one.

BES Photo / Flickr Creative Commons

An Idaho House committee Wednesday introduced a revised plan for increasing teacher pay.

But Rep. Ryan Kerby, R-New Plymouth, said the new version doesn’t fix a potentially divisive issue he said could backfire on the state.

Under the plan, experienced teachers who meet a high bar of performance criteria would be eligible for $4,000 bonuses called “master premiums.”

This story was updated at 5:30 p.m.

The latest revision of a bill to boost teacher pay in Idaho over the next five years showed promise of passing early Wednesday morning, but the legislation was killed just eight hours later.

The House Education Committee is now slated to vote on introducing a third amended version of the legislation Thursday.

The proposal presented Wednesday would have bumped beginning teacher pay from $31,750 to $32,700 a year. But Republican Rep. Ryan Kerby from New Plymouth balked at the way pay bonuses were structured.

A plan to give Idaho teachers significant raises over five years has finally taken shape in the Idaho legislature.

A panel in the Idaho Senate introduced a bill that would increase the state’s minimum wage to $9.25 an hour -- a $2 per hour increase -- by next year. 

U.S. Dept. of Education / Flickr Creative Commons

One of the Idaho Legislature's most anticipated proposals to boost teacher pay has finally been revealed just nine days before lawmakers begin setting the state's public education budget.

The Idaho House Education Committee listened to the plan Friday but did not vote on any legislation.

Under the plan, beginning teacher pay would bump up from $31,750 to $33,000 per year school starting in fiscal year 2016 and eventually increase to $37,000 over five years.

Idaho Democrats' plan to raise the state's minimum wage to $9.25 per hour over the next two years might be over before it begins.

Sen. Curt McKenzie, who chairs the GOP-controlled Senate State Affairs Committee, started the hearing Friday by saying he didn't anticipate any more discussions on the bill.

The bill was introduced unanimously with no discussion, mainly as a courtesy to minority party leadership.

Idaho Center for Fiscal Policy

Idaho lawmakers are talking behind the scenes about creating a flat-rate income tax and raising the sales tax, a proposal the non-partisan  Idaho Center for Fiscal Policy says would increase taxes for everyone who makes less than $173,000 a year.

Kyle Green
Courtesy Idaho Statesman

Boise State University football coach Bryan Harsin has a new contract that pays him $6.25 million over five years.

The Idaho State Board or Education on Thursday approved the deal for Harsin who in his first season last year guided the Broncos to a 12-2 record and a Fiesta Bowl win.

The new deal replaces a previous contract that awarded Harsin a one-year extension for winning nine or more games.

The new agreement awards a one-year extension for eight or more wins.

Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

The starting salary for Idaho teachers is lower than in Washington, Oregon, and three other surrounding states. Superintendents in Idaho border towns say that has left them with shortages.

The salary for a first-year teacher in Idaho is around $31,000. It doesn’t help that St. Maries, a school district in north Idaho, is only 30 miles from Washington, where the teacher starting salary is 15 percent higher and teachers move up the pay scale much faster.

Oregon could leapfrog Washington to have the highest state minimum wage in the country if the Democratically-controlled legislature approves a proposed increase.

Kyle Green / Idaho Statesman

An annual accounting of Idaho government payroll shows the state last year paid $1.47 billion in salaries, taxes, healthcare and insurance costs.

The annual report from the Idaho Controller’s Office shows more than a third of the state’s 25,033 workers are earning less than $40,000 each year. About 10 percent earn more than $70,000.

Idaho Capitol Dome
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

For a second year, a joint legislative committee has unanimously supported increasing wages for Idaho's 17,000 state workers in fiscal year 2016.

The bipartisan Change in Employee Compensation Committee proposed awarding a 3 percent pay boost on a merit basis. This means, however, not everyone is guaranteed a raise.

The recommendation —estimated to cost nearly $30 million— now needs full legislative approval but is already expected to be supported by the governor.

Idaho Democrats predict more common ground than usual at the state Capitol this year. That’s because Idaho’s minority party leaders say many of the Republican proposals on the table are things Democrats have been pushing -- for years.

Democrats make up only 20 percent of Idaho’s Legislature. House Minority Leader John Rusche says they’re used to their bills not even being printed.

Gov. Otter Outlines Budget Increase, Pay Raises, Tax Cuts

Jan 12, 2015
Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter is kicking off the 2015 legislative session with his annual State of the State address and budget proposal, where he outlines increased spending for schools, boosting state employee pay, cutting income taxes, and leaving some tough decisions up to the Legislature.

An idea Otter returns to repeatedly in his speech is that "Idaho learns."

Five of Idaho's neighboring states will ring in the New Year with an increase in their minimum wage. Idaho, meanwhile, hasn't seen an increase in its minimum wage since 2009.

Idaho's wage is the federal minimum, $7.25 per hour.

Not only is Idaho nearly surrounded by states with a minimum wage above the federal baseline, but it's nearly surrounded by states with the highest minimum wages in the country.