BOISE, Idaho (AP) – Lawmakers set a budget for Idaho’s public universities that increases state support by $18.1 million next year and boosts pay for state employees who for the most part, have not had a raise in four years.The spending plan approved Tuesday by the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee carries an 8.6 percent increase in state general funds for higher education. The $446 million budget, when including all funds, is up 12.5 percent over this year.Legislative budget writers also increased state support for Idaho’s three community colleges, to the tune of $4.7 million, and fully funded their request for building costs. Republican Sen. Bert Brackett says the increased college funding should lessen their need to hike tuition and fees for students.The budget plans still need House and Senate approval.
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