Montana State Employee Pay Cap Referendum (2012)

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The Montana State Employee Pay Cap Referendum did not get placed on a 2012 ballot in the state of Montana as a legislative referral. The measure would have capped state employees' pay at twice the average household income in the state. According to State Senator Dave Lewis, who was proposing the measure, the average household income was about $43,000 at the time, with benefits equal to about 30 percent. The cap would have amounted to $113,000. Lewis stated that during his campaigning, voters were upset about the raises being given to "hierarchies in the bureaucracies," like departments such as Transportation and Public Health, who according to reports receive their budgets from federal money.[1][2]

Text of measure

Summary

The summary of the measure read as follows:[2]

"An act limiting compensation paid to certain state employees and reducing compensation paid to certain existing state employees; providing for exceptions to the limitation under certain circumstances; providing that the act be submitted to the qualified electors of Montana; amending section 2-18-303, MCA; and providing an effective date."

Path to the ballot

During the hearing in legislative session in which the bill was introduced, reports out of the state said there was little support of the bill. According to Eric Feaver, president of MEA-MFT, a union representing teachers and many state workers: “This is a really bad bill. It's a capricious bill. It invites class warfare." State Senator Dave Lewis, sponsor of the bill, introduced the measure to a Senate panel on February 3, 2011. No immediate action on the proposal was taken during the hearing. The Montana Legislature adjourned without the measure being sent to the ballot.[3]

References