BOISE -- A Republican and Democratic lawmaker panel unanimously backed a proposal for a 2 percent pay increase for Idaho's 17,000 state workers in fiscal year 2015, saying agencies had for too long relied on savings from attrition to boost their employees' checks.

The 18-member Change in Employee Compensation Committee said Friday the pay should be awarded on a merit basis.

Half the increase would be built into ongoing salaries, while the other half would be considered for the year starting in July only.

The measure is only a recommendation; the full Legislature would have to back such a push, which would cost taxpayers about $11 million.

Gov. C.L. Butch Otter hasn't recommended a pay increase for state workers.

His budget chief, Jani Revier, declined comment after the meeting, which she attended.

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