State official pay raise – is time ever right?

The old question of legislative and state official pay raises has come up again. The state Compensation Council has approve a package of proposed pay hikes for the governor, legislators, judges and state agency heads. The proposal now must be approved by the Legislature.

This would be the first raise for the governor and legislators since the 1990s, and it is probably overdue. Yet pressure will be strong on legislators to forego the raise. Voters are usually always opposed to a pay raise for lawmakers, especially when the state is facing a budget deficit.

Hopefully, lawmakers will have the budget in balance before the pay raises would take effect in 2015. Legislative pay raises have to wait until after the next election before they take effect.

Legislators would see their pay rise from $31,000 to $42,000. The governor’s salary salary of $120,000 a year would rise about three percent in 2015 and 2016.

A major change in the proposal would be that the governor’s salary would no longer be a cap on agency head salaries. The Compensation Council said the state is having trouble attracting and keeping the best qualified employees, who could make more not only in the private sector, but in local government as well.

We’re sure people will complain, but a pay raise every 10 or 15 years seems reasonable.

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