House passes pay increase bill

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(Host) The Vermont House, by a two to one margin, has given its approval to legislation that includes a pay raise for lawmakers beginning in 2005. The basic part of the bill gives legislative approval to a collective bargaining agreement for state employees. The legislation increases the salaries of most state employees by 1.5% next year and 2.5% in 2005.

On Tuesday afternoon, House members by just a two vote margin, added an amendment to the bill that increases their salary by 24% starting in 2005.

House Government Operations chairman Cola Hudson, who voted against the legislative pay hike, reluctantly urged his colleagues to support the entire bill:

(Hudson) “I’m going to support the pay bill as it comes, even with all the additions. If you think I’m happy about it, I’m not. I’d give anything to be able to say I’m canceling out on this one because of the pay bill involving legislators, but I’m not responsible for that folks. But I am sort of responsible to the bargained agreement.”

(Host) The measure now goes to the Senate for its consideration.

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