KIFI: Three Veteran Lawmakers Latest to Reap Huge Idaho Retirement Perk 

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Idaho Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis insists that a policy that allow lawmakers to sweeten their bank accounts by getting full-time credit for part-time work when they slide from the legislature into plum appointments, helps the state hire the "best of the best."

But Blackfoot Republican Rep. Dennis Lake says the policy is outright wrong and is nothing more than a "pension spike" when legislators, who technically work three months a year get a full-year's credit if and when their appointed to state jobs. Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter just recently appointed three long-time legislators  -  Dean Cameron, Bob Geddes and John Tippets, all senators - into state agencies, thus instantly improving their financial status in the Public Retirement System of Idaho, better known as PERSI.

Eastern Idaho's KIFI-TV drilled into the controversial topic July 16 with news anchor Karole Honas speaking with Davis, Lake, Otter and Idaho Freedom Foundation president Wayne Hoffman, a particular critic of the practice.

"Nobody qualifies to do this except 105 legislators," Lake told KIFI-TV. "That's what's wrong with it. This is all about: Is it right for the legislature to vote themselves this kind of benefit?"

But Davis pushes back, saying it's necessary to have a "public policy that works and invites quality, capable people."

"Otherwise, what you're left with is a selection pool that are still good people, but they don't bring some of the experience that other candidates might be able to bring," said Davis.

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