Jerry Brown

Those given pay raises by a state panel Monday include California Gov. Jerry Brown, pictured on May 6, and other state legislators and elected officials. (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

By Patrick McGreevy contact the reporter
May 11, 2015

SACRAMENTO — A state panel appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown voted Monday to give the governor, state legislators and many other officials a 3% pay raise, saying it would make their salaries more competitive with leaders elsewhere.

The increases will take effect Dec. 7.

Thomas Dalzell, chairman of the state Citizens Compensation Commission, said the 2.5% raises taking effect July 1 for many rank-and-file state workers also were a basis for the new salaries.

Brown’s pay will go from $177,466 a year to $182,789; the base salary for lawmakers will go from $97,196 to $100,111. Leadership posts in the Legislature pay up to 15% more.

All statewide constitutional officers, including the state treasurer, controller, attorney general, superintendent of public instruction, lieutenant governor and members of the state Board of Equalization, also will receive pay hikes.

The panel raised the officials’ pay 7.3% over the last two years, partly restoring deep wage cuts made during the recession, when many state services and wages were reduced.

“State [elected] officials are now at about 83% of what they were earning in 2007,” Dalzell said. “The commission wanted to start closing the gap a little bit.”

The panel also restored state health benefits that had been cut 10% in past years.

Lew Uhler, head of the California-based National Tax Limitation Committee, criticized the raises. He said state leaders have failed to deal effectively with problems including the drought, crumbling roads and sagging private-sector wages.

“A pay raise should be applause for a job well done. Who could possibly say the way this Legislature has performed deserves a round of applause?” Uhler said.

Commissioners indicated that they plan to consider more significant raises next year, to align the salaries of the governor and attorney general more closely with their counterparts’ earnings.

Commissioner Anthony Barkett noted that California’s governor was paid less than chief executives in smaller states, including the governors of Tennessee ($181,980), New York ($179,000) and Pennsylvania ($187,818).

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